French PM warns of more terror attacks
Paris, Sep 12 (IANS) French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has warned the country of more terror attacks in the days to come, saying that some 15,000 people are in the process of radicalization in France and on police radar, while 1,400 are under investigation.
In an interview with Europe 1 radio and Itele television, Valls on Sunday said authorities prevent terror attacks on a daily basis but not every terrorist can be apprehended.
Valls said two attacks were foiled last week, and warned: “There will be new attacks, there will be [more] innocent victims.”
“It is my job to tell this truth to the French people… We are a target – everyone understands this,” he said.
He said the threat of attacks is “at its highest…in recent days”.
“We have nearly 700 French jihadists and residents, who are currently fighting in Iraq and Syria,” he said, noting that this figure included “275 women and dozens of children.”
Paris was put on “maximum” alert this week after French officials said they cracked an Islamic State-affiliated “terrorist cell” that was allegedly planning to bomb the populous Paris Gare de Lyon railway station.
Police arrested three radicalised women who reportedly intended to bomb the the railway station to avenge the death of IS leader Abu Muhammed al-Adnani, reported RT news.
Valls slammed French President Nicholas Sarkozy’s idea of putting French citizens having militant links in preventative detention for security and said such measures could inspire more attacks.
He also criticised the anti-terrorism measures Sarkozy took while he was in office.
“He is wrong about trying to wring the neck of the rule of law against the threat. His method is wrong…there would be more attacks,” Valls said.
The PM also mentioned a suggestion recently made by French Justice Minister of creating “10,000 prison spaces within the next ten years” to incarcerate those accused of plotting or carrying out terror attacks.
On Saturday, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve announced that the authorities have arrested some 293 people “engaged in terrorist networks” since the beginning of the year.
France has been on high alert since January of 2015, when it was hit by a series of terrorist attacks.
The deadliest attack was in November that claimed the lives of at least 130 persons and left 368 others injured in coordinated terror strikes in Paris and Saint-Denis.
Another attack struck Nice on July 14 this year that killed at least 84 persons when a truck driven by an IS sympathiser plowed through crowds during Bastille Day celebrations. Following this the French Parliament voted to extend the country’s state of emergency by six additional months after the Nice attack.