The train incident occurred in a hectic week that saw three French soldiers killed by a bomb in Lebanon and a dramatic renewal of the threat by the mysterious, pro-Iranian Islamic Jihad (Islamic Holy War) to kill the French hostages it is holding in Lebanon.
The killing of the soldiers prompted the French government to call for an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council that could lead to withdrawal of French troops from the U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon. The threat by Islamic Jihad produced two communiques from the French government that amount to an attempt to conduct a public dialogue with the kidnapers.
In a somewhat related way, the French government has hinted strongly that it may withdraw its 1,400 soldiers from the U.N. peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon. Iran opposes the use of the U.N. troops, contending that their presence prevents guerrillas from attacking Israel.