A sweep by French police to arrest ten suspected Islamists on Wednesday could have a profound impact on the country’s presidential election.
The arrests are part of a crackdown on radicals after Toulouse gunman Mohamed Merah went on the rampage in the southwestern city of Toulouse, killing seven people.
One analyst say media coverage of the shootings could have inspired copycat attacks.
Anne Giudicelli of Terrorisc told euronews: “The handling of the Merah case helped to raise the terror alert because this young man could have been considered a hero by other Islamists. He dominated news headlines for 48 hours.”
Denis Sieffert, the editor of the left-leaning Politis magazine, said that the murders have allowed Sarkozy to divert attention from other key themes.
“It can allow the outgoing president to dodge a number of themes that are unfavourable to him: his record on unemployment, the economy and social issues,” he said. “Sarkozy is tacking to the right so to woo Le Pen voters in the second round”
Our correspondent Giovanni Magi said: “Whatever the result of counterterrorism operations and the potential impact on presidential elections, one thing is certain: the narrative of the French electoral campaign has changed.”