ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 147

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EU warns of ‘huge’ risk of Christmastime terror attacks due to Israel-Hamas war

Warning comes following suspected Islamic State-linked murder near Eiffel Tower over the weekend

French gendarmes patrol the Trocadero plaza near the Eiffel Tower after a man targeted passersby late Saturday, killing a German tourist with a knife and injuring two others in Paris, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
French gendarmes patrol the Trocadero plaza near the Eiffel Tower after a man targeted passersby late Saturday, killing a German tourist with a knife and injuring two others in Paris, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

BRUSSELS, Belgium — Europe faces a “huge risk of terrorist attacks” over the Christmas holiday period due to the fallout from the war between Israel and the Palestinian terror group Hamas, the European Union’s home affairs commissioner warned on Tuesday.

The warning came as French investigators probe a fatal weekend attack near the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Questions were raised about the mental health of the suspect, who swore allegiance to the extremist Islamic State group before stabbing a German-Filipino tourist to death and injuring two other people with a hammer.

“With the war between Israel and Hamas, and the polarization it causes in our society, with the upcoming holiday season, there is a huge risk of terrorist attacks in the European Union,” EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson told reporters.

“We saw (it happening) recently in Paris, unfortunately we have seen it earlier as well,” she said, as EU interior ministers gathered in Brussels. She provided no details about any information that might have led to her warning. Her office did not immediately respond to requests for details.

Johansson, whose brief includes security and immigration, said that European Commission will provide an additional 30 million euros ($32.5 million) to help bolster security in vulnerable areas, notably places of worship.

German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser sent her condolences to France over the attack, and said that it highlights “just how acute and how serious the threat posed by Islamist terrorism is currently in the EU.”

European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson addresses a media conference at EU headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File)

“The war in Gaza and Hamas’s terror are exacerbating this situation,” she told reporters.

Related: Israel issues severe travel warnings to dozens of countries amid rising antisemitism

War between Israel and Hamas erupted after Hamas’s October 7 massacre, which saw some 3,000 terrorists burst across the border into Israel from the Gaza Strip by land, air and sea, killing some 1,200 people and seizing some 240 hostages of all ages under the cover of a deluge of thousands of rockets fired at Israeli towns and cities.

The vast majority of those killed as gunmen seized border communities were civilians — including babies, children and the elderly. Entire families were executed in their homes, and over 360 were slaughtered at an outdoor festival, many amid horrific acts of brutality by the terrorists.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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