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France has had a long history of struggle with various forms of terrorism and over the past decade has achieved particular success against Algerian Islamic terrorist groups - the GIA and GSPC - with close links to Al-Qaeda. This article reviews France's experience of terrorism since the end of the Second World War and details the evolving state responses to these challenges and the sophisticated anti-terrorist apparatus that now serves the French state. It then considers the role of France in the post-11 September 'war on terrorism' and argues that France remains in the front-line of the struggle against Al-Qaeda and that the French experience has much to contribute to the international war against Islamic terrorism.