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France raised its terror alert to the highest level in the wake of a Moscow concert hall attack that left at least 137 people and injured at least 182 others – just four months before Paris is to host the Olympics. 

“Following the attack in Moscow, a Defense and National Security Council was convened this evening at the Elysée by the President of the Republic,” French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal announced on X Sunday. “Given the Islamic State’s claim of responsibility for the attack and the threats weighing on our country, we have decided to raise the Vigipirate posture to its highest level: attack emergency.”

The highest of three levels is declared under France’s terror alert system when an attack at home or abroad is believed to be imminent. The highest level permits exceptional security measures, including increased patrols by armed forces in public places like train stations, airports and religious sites, Reuters reported.

French President Emmanuel Macron earlier this month already scaled back the planned capacity of the Olympics opening ceremony scheduled to be held in Paris along the River Siene in July, citing broad concern about Islamic extremists potentially targeting the country, Politico reported. 


France was already monitoring an “an atmosphere of jihadism,” according to Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, following the killing of French teacher Dominique Bernard in the northern town of Arras by a suspected Islamic extremist in the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks on Israel, France 24 reported then. 

In December, Darmanin warned the country was “durably under threat from Islamist terrorism” after a prosecutor identified a French 26-year-old born to Iranian parents accused of fatally stabbing a German tourist and injuring two others steps away from the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Meanwhile, four men accused of staging the shooting attack that ignited an inferno at the suburban Moscow concert venue appeared before a Moscow court Sunday on terrorism charges while showing signs of severe beatings. One appeared to be barely conscious during the hearing.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had said the four suspects were apprehended while attempting to flee to Ukraine, prompting a strong rebuke from Ukrainian President Voldymr Zelenskyy, who claimed Moscow was attempting to blame Kyiv for the attack while their conflict continues into a third year. 

Beaten Moscow suspect

An affiliate of the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for what is considered the deadliest terror attack on Russian soil in years. The U.S. government said American intelligence supports the conclusion that ISIS was responsible. 


Court statements said two of the suspects accepted their guilt in the assault, though the men’s condition raised questions about whether they were speaking freely. There had been conflicting reports in Russian media outlets that said three or all four men admitted culpability.

Beaten Moscow concert attacker in Russian court box

Dalerdzhon Mirzoyev, 32; Saidakrami Rachabalizoda, 30; Shamsidin Fariduni, 25; and Mukhammadsobir Faizov, 19, were charged with committing a terrorist attack resulting in the death of others. The offense carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Moscow concert attack suspect hauled into court

Moscow’s Basmanny District Court ordered that the men, all of whom were identified in the media as citizens of Tajikistan, be held in custody until May 22 pending investigation and trial.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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