TIMELINE-Major security incidents in France since 1975

by Reuters
Tuesday, 23 November 2010 19:59 GMT

Nov 23 (Reuters) - Aggressive intelligence gathering and some of the toughest anti-terror laws in Europe have helped France thwart Islamist terror attacks for 15 years, but a new call to arms by Osama bin Laden has the country on high alert. [ID:nLDE6AI1NF]

Here is a timeline of some major security incidents over the last thirty years in France.

May 4-5, 1976 - A wave of bombings rocks Corsica as the separatist Corsican National Liberation Front (FLNC) is born.

Oct. 3, 1980 - A bomb in a Paris synagogue kills four people and wounds 20. Hassan Diab, of Palestinian origin, is arrested in Canada 18 years later and faces an extradition hearing.

Sep. 13, 1983 - The secretary general of the northern Corsica region, Pierre-Jean Massimi, is shot in the city of Bastia. The FLNC claims responsibility.

Aug. 1994 - "Carlos the Jackal" is arrested in Sudan and taken to a French prison. He is sentenced to life in prison for killing two French security agents and their informant.

July 25, 1995 - A gas canister with black powder, nails and bolts explodes on a rush-hour suburban commuter train at the St Michel station in the heart of the Paris Latin Quarter. At least seven people died and 86 others are wounded in the blast, blamed on Algerian Islamic extremists.

Aug. 17, 1995 - A bomb in a gas canister wounds 17 people near the Arc de Triomphe. Two days later Algerian guerrilla GIA, the Armed Islamic Group General Command, claims responsibility. Aug. 26, 1995 - Police find an unexploded bomb on the tracks of a railway near Lyon. It was meant to go off when a high-speed TGV train to Paris passed, but failed due to a design error.

Sept. 21, 1995 - A small bomb explodes in a telephone box near a secondary school in the southern city of Toulouse.

Oct. 17, 1995 - Twenty-eight people are injured when a bomb explodes in the carriage of an express train in central Paris.

Oct. 5, 1996 - A powerful bomb wrecks the office of Prime Minister Alain Juppe in the southwestern city of Bordeaux, where he is also the mayor. Corsican separatists claim responsibility. Dec. 3, 1996 - Four people are killed and 90 injured when a bomb explodes in the Port Royal underground station.

Nov. 24, 1997 - Thirty-eight Muslim militants stand trial in Paris accused of providing logistical support to the bombings in 1995-1996. Eight are killed and 170 injured in the attacks.

Feb. 6, 1998 - Claude Erignac, prefect to Corsica, is shot dead. He is the highest-ranking French official to be assassinated in France since World War Two. Yvan Colonna was found guilty of the killing in Dec. 2007.

July 7, 2005 - After a spate of bombings in central London, France raises its terror alert level to "red", its second-highest reading. It has remained "red" ever since.

Dec. 1, 2007 - Gunmen suspected of belonging to Basque separatist group ETA suspects kill two Spanish policemen working undercover in France.

Jan. 11, 2009 - Arsonists use fire bombs to attack a synagogue near Paris and a place of worship in Strasbourg.

July 25, 2010 - Al Qaeda's North African branch says it killed a French hostage in retaliation for a raid by French troops against a base in the Sahara desert.

July 27, 2010 - France says it is at war with al Qaeda's North African branch after the hostage's killing and pledges to support any government fighting the group.

Sept. 16, 2010 - Seven foreigners, including five French employees of the energy firm Areva, are taken hostage in Niger.

Al Qaeda's North African branch later claims responsibility for the kidnapping in an audio recording broadcast by Al Jazeera television.

Sept. 20, 2010 - France goes on heightened alert for a terror attack after receiving a tip-off that a female suicide bomber was planning to attack the transport system.

Oct. 27, 2010 - Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden targets France for the first time in a speech, saying France's unjust treatment of Muslims justified the capture of its citizens.

Nov. 10, 2010 - Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux announces the arrest of five French nationals suspected of conspiring to launch a terror attack in France. (Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit)

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.