On Friday the 13th of October, a French High School in the small northern city of Arras was a victim of a terrorist attack from an alumnus, Mohammed Mogouchkov. The 20-year-old, born in Russia who came to France in 2008, entered the building during morning classes, armed with knives. Dominique Bernard, a French literature teacher, was killed — and two other employees of the school were injured. While the events were happening, students and other faculty members had to confine themselves. Most of them thought it was a drill until the lockdown continued for more than an hour; at that moment, they understood the gravity of the situation. Many videos were taken by students and posted online, which created a wave of panic outside of the school — notably on social media. Eerily, a cruel attack directed at a teacher happened 3 years ago, to the day: in 2020, Samuel Patty, a history teacher, was decapitated after his classes. The reason for the 2020 attack was that he showed a caricature of Mahomet in class.
Mohammed Mogouchkov is now currently indicted for assassination and attempted assassination related to a terrorist group. On Tuesday night, after he was indicted in front of the judge, it was decided he would go into custody. Following this decision, his 16 years old brother and 15 years old cousin were also placed into custody after proves were found on radicalization involvement. Everything was held behind closed doors.
(An audience must now gather before a judge to decide his fate.) Following the attack, the French government hoped to expel eleven Russians registered as radicals. President Emmanuel Macron also requested to go through the files of those reported as radicalized, with the possible purpose of evicting them. Macron traveled to Arras on Friday and gave a speech, in which he emphasized the courage of the faculty members who attempted to calm and stop the attacker, followed by paying tribute to all teachers On the 16th, a minute of silence was observed across the country to pay tribute to Dominique Bernard.
On Friday, Prime Minister Elizabeth Born announced that France was back on the highest level of the Vigipirate plan. This level was created in 2016, following the numerous terrorist attacks France witnessed, including the prior year at the Charlie Hebdo, Stade de France and the Bataclan, etc. This plan is meant to be used during a limited period of time, while the country is in a crisis. Its purpose is to give the country more protection concerning terrorism, with the military being deployed following the Sentinelle Operation (around 7000 soldiers will be of reinforcement) and a more significant amount of the budget being used for protection. It was only a day after the plan was announced that the Louvres and Palace of Versailles were both evacuated for a bomb alert on October 14th. The Minister of Internal Affairs, Gerald Darmanin affirmed that: “There wasn’t any real threat, no bomb was found and nothing was committed.”
France is now back on the highest level of alert concerning terrorism and is not the only country concerned with such acts. October 16th, a terrorist act was committed in Bruxelle, Belgium. This attack occurred in an area that surrounded a soccer game between Belgium and Sweden, where two Swedish supporters were killed and one was injured. The attacker was killed on the night of the 16th, after being found near his registered address by the Belgian police.
Sophomore Agathe Vanmassenhove is a Staff Writer. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.