The terror attack, which left one police officer dead, has rocked France days before the presidential election
THE ISIS attack in Paris could have been an attempt to swing the upcoming French presidential election in far-right candidate Marine Le Pen’s favour, an expert has claimed.
France was rocked on Thursday when a brainwashed gunman opened fire on cops on the Champs-Elysees killing one police officer days before the country goes to the polls.
Le Pen, leader of the right-wing National Front party, is known for her anti-immigration policies and has dominated the divisive and scandal-ridden campaign.
But Chris Hawkins, an analyst at Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Centre (JTIC), believes the harrowing ISIS-claimed attack was an attempt the sway the electorate towards Le Pen.
He said: “The motive behind the Islamic State’s claim is likely an attempt to influence the upcoming French presidential elections.
“The election of Le Pen would fuel anti-Muslim sentiment in France and as a result could give the Islamic State a rich recruiting ground.”
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Hawkins said that the speed in which the terror cult claimed responsibility for the attack suggests they knew about the plot beforehand.
Earlier this week, French cops foiled a more sophisticated plot in Marseille which was reportedly linked to the presidential elections.
And Hawkins believes that the France can expect more attacks during the country’s lengthy election process.
He said: “Further violence is likely in the run up to the first round of elections until the second round on 7 May from Islamic State or Islamist inspired actors.”
Security expert Will Geddes, analyst for International Media & Press, believes millions of French voters are more likely to choose Le Pen following the attack.
And Geddes warned that a “combative” approach by any future Le Pen government could backfire and that the French government needs to appeal to Muslim communities to “weed out the bad apples”.
He said: “Attacks like the one on the Champs-Elysees could very well boost the Le Pen vote.
“Le Pen coming in will make immigrants, Muslims and minorities feel like victims and they will be scrutinised and made to feel the blame.
“You have to appeal to these communities and get them on side, it is a very complex collaborative process of tying to bring people on side and saying that there is a universal interest of weeding out the bad apples.
“If Marine Le Pen was elected it could be seen to have drawn battle lines.”
Sick extremist Karim Cheurfi, 39, killed traffic cop Xavier Jugele, 37, and injured two more after opening fire with a Kalashnikov on the the Champs-Elysées last night.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack after the killer got out of a car next to a parked police van and opened fire through the window before officers returned fire and shot him dead.
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