French security forces now top targets of Islamic radicals

FILE - In this Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017 file photo, French soldiers patrol in the courtyard of the Louvre museum in Paris. The soldiers of France's Sent

FILE - In this Monday, June 19, 2017 file photo, scientific police officers investigate on the suspected car, right, after a man rammed into a police

FILE - In this Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017 file photo, French soldier stands next to the scene where French soldiers were hit and injured by a vehicle in

FILE - In this Tuesday, June 6, 2017 file photo, police officers seal off the access to Notre Dame cathedral, seen in the background, after a man atta

PARIS (AP) — French soldiers are the highest profile symbols of the fight against Islamic extremism — but along with other security forces patrolling French streets increasingly the main targets of attacks.

Their status as representatives, and defenders, of the state, has put security forces in the line of fire. But experts offer other reasons, too, for why attacks in France have recently focused on heavily armed protectors.

No civilians have been attacked this year — although France's interior minister says that intelligence services have foiled seven planned attacks.

Several experts say that Islamic radicals may seek extra media visibility presumably afforded by going after emblematic targets or be tempted by the wish to die as a "martyr."