France attacks: 10,000 troops deployed on streets to boost domestic security
10,000 French troops have been mobilized to boost security after last week’s deadly attacks in Paris.
Thousands of police officers have been also sent to protect Jewish schools.
Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said troops would be in place from January 13 in sensitive areas.
It is the first time troops have been deployed within France on such a scale.
Seventeen people were killed in Paris last week in attacks at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, on a police officer, and at kosher supermarket HyperCacher.
On January 11, an estimated 3.7 million people took to the streets to show solidarity with the victims, including 1.5 million people in Paris.
About 40 world leaders joined the start of the Paris march, linking arms in an act of solidarity.
President Francois Hollande ordered the deployment of troops during a crisis meeting with top officials early on January 12.
Jean-Yves Le Drian said the deployment, the first of its kind, was needed because “threats remain present”.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazaneuve announced that nearly 5,000 members of the security forces would be sent to protect France’s 717 Jewish schools, and that troops would be sent as reinforcements over the next two days.
PM Manuel Valls said synagogues would also be protected, as would mosques, following some retaliatory attacks over the Charlie Hebdo killings.
Last week, Manuel Valls admitted there had been “clear failings” after it emerged that the three gunman involved in the attacks – Said and Cherif Kouachi and Amedy Coulibaly – had a history of extremism.
The Kouachi brothers were on UK and US terror watch lists and Amedy Coulibaly had previously been convicted for plotting to free a known militant from prison. Amedy Coulibaly met Cherif Kouachi while in jail.
Amedy Coulibaly and the Kouachi brothers were shot dead on January 9 after police ended two separate sieges.
Amedy Coulibaly killed four people at HyperCacher supermarket in eastern Paris on January 9 before police stormed the building. He is also believed to have shot dead a policewoman the day before.
Ahead of Sunday’s rally in Paris, a video emerged appearing to show Amedy Coulibaly pledging allegiance to the Islamic State militant group.
In the video, he said he was working with the Kouachi brothers: “We have split our team into two… to increase the impact of our actions.”
The Kouachi brothers claimed they were acting on behalf of Yemeni branch of al-Qaeda (AQAP). But experts say it is highly unlikely that Islamic State and al-Qaeda, rivals in the Middle East, would plan an attack together.
Manuel Valls said on January 12 that authorities thought that the attackers had at least one accomplice, for whom police are still hunting.
One suspect is Hayat Boumeddiene, Amedy Coulibaly’s girlfriend, though she left France before the attacks. The Turkish foreign minister said Hayat Boumeddiene had arrived in Turkey on January 2 from Madrid, before continuing to Syria six days later.
Surveillance footage released on January 12 showed Hayat Boumeddiene entering Turkey at an Istanbul airport, accompanied by a man.
According to Turkish officials, the man was Mehdi Sabri Belhouchine, a man of “North African origin”, and that he was not on a watch list. Officials believe he crossed into Syria with Hayat Boumeddiene.
Manuel Valls also said that a jogger shot in a separate attack in Paris on January 7, which prosecutors have linked to Amedy Coulibaly, was “between life and death”.
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