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Opinion

Opinion: We can't let the terrorists win

Early signs suggest that the murderers behind the devastating Paris attacks were Islamist extremists. It's time for the civilized world to get an anti-terrorism plan, says DW's Bernd Riegert.

France gets attacked. Europe is shocked. The cowardly terrorists' goal isn't just to target victims at random. Their goal is also to target us. All of humanity, as American President Barack Obama put it.

We can only watch - stunned and angry - at how the terrorists are able to unleash violence centered on one particular area and kill indiscriminately. France, Europe and the world must now rise up as one and strike back. The obviously Islamist, violent criminals must be combated by every means possible. The people behind these heinous murderers, be they in Syria, Iraq or somewhere else, must be found and eliminated as quickly as possible. The so-called "Islamic State" (IS) hasn't just declared war on France; it has declared war on all free people.

In the name of French values - liberty, equality and fraternity - the world must take a stand against terror. A good opportunity for this would be on Sunday when the 20 biggest economies of the world gather in Antalya, Turkey for a summit. The US, Russia and perhaps even NATO troops from Europe must act together against "IS" in Syria and Iraq. And it needs to happen as soon as possible. After the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January, international politicians marched together in an impressive show of solidarity. A nice gesture, but it's not enough anymore. The ruthless murderers probably only understand the language of violence.

The recruitment of potential assassins among European youths has been tolerated for much too long. Efforts to radicalize them must be prevented aggressively. If European citizens travel to Syria or Iraq to train with jihadists, then at least their return to Europe must be prevented by all means possible.

It can happen to anyone

All other conflicts between nations must now take a back seat because anyone could be the next victim. On Friday, there was also a terror warning in Russia. Turkey was the target of terrorist attacks in October. Madrid experienced it in 2004 and London did as well in 2005. No one knows with certainty which sleeper or terrorist cells in Europe or in the US are waiting for their cue. As far as Syrian ruler al-Assad goes, the world community can worry itself about him once the sinister power of "IS" has been broken.

On top of Europe's refugee crisis, we now have a terrorism crisis as well, an unexpected threat. Now, Europe must really prove that it can stand together and that it can work together. The security of all citizens is threatened. Living in peace is in jeopardy. The answer of political leaders in Europe, the US and in Russia must now be: We will defend ourselves!

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