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Photo: Israel Bardugo
Stepped up security at Chabad house in Paris
Photo: Israel Bardugo
France to deploy 5,000 police to protect Jewish sites
French Interior Minister: 700 police officers to be placed at all 717 Jewish schools across the country in addition to some 4,100 gendarmes already deployed.

France will deploy 10,000 soldiers on home soil by Tuesday and post almost 5,000 extra police officers to protect Jewish sites after the killing of 17 people by Islamist militants in Paris last week, officials said.

 

 

Speaking a day after the biggest French public demonstration ever registered, in honor of the victims, Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the country remained at risk of further attacks. Soldiers would guard transport hubs, tourism sites and key buildings and mount general street patrols.

 

"The threats remain and we have to protect ourselves from them. It is an internal operation that will mobilize almost as many men as we have in our overseas operations," Le Drian told reporters after a cabinet meeting.

 

 

Security forces at Chabad house in France (Photo: Israel Bardugo) (Photo: Israel Bardugo)
Security forces at Chabad house in France (Photo: Israel Bardugo)

 

The victims died in three days of violence that began Wednesday with a shooting attack on the political weekly Charlie Hebdo, known for its satirical attacks on Islam and other religions. Many at Sunday's march wore badges and carried placards declaring "I Am Charlie".

 

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The Charlie Hebdo attackers, two French-born brothers of Algerian origin, singled out the weekly for its publication of cartoons depicting and ridiculing the Prophet Mohammed.

 

Charlie Hebdo's remaining members are working on an eight page issue due to come out on Wednesday with a one-million copy print run. Its lawyer, Richard Malka, told France Info radio there would be caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed.

 

"We will not give in. The spirit of 'I am Charlie' means the right to blaspheme ," he said, adding that the front page would be released Monday evening.

 

The three days of bloodshed ended on Friday with a hostage-taking at a kosher supermarket in Paris, where four hostages were killed. The gunman, who was shot dead by SWAT police, declared allegiance to Islamic State insurgents and said he was acting in response to French military deployments against militant Islamist groups overseas. He had deliberately targeted a Jewish establishment, he said.  

 

Police and former hostages outside the kosher supermarket during the siege. (Photo: AFP) (Photo: AFP)
Police and former hostages outside the kosher supermarket during the siege. (Photo: AFP)

 

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said 700 police officers would be placed at all 717 Jewish schools across the country in addition to some 4,100 gendarmes already deployed.

 

"Synagogues, Jewish schools, but also mosques will be protected because in the past few days there have been a number of attacks against mosques," French Prime Minister Manuel Valls told BFM TV.

 

The first two attackers, who had traveled to Yemen in 2011 for training, were killed on Friday after a siege north of the capital. Police said all three men were part of the same Paris-based militant Islamist cell.

 

Over 1.2 million people marched in Paris on Sunday and 2.5 million more in the provinces. The Paris march was led by dozens of foreign leaders. Some commentators said the last time crowds of this size were seen in the capital was at the Liberation of Paris from Nazi Germany in 1944.

 

 

Search for accomplices

The coordinated assaults amounted to the deadliest attack by militant Islamists on a European city since 57 people were killed in an attack on London's transport system in 2005.

 

Valls said police were searching for likely accomplices. The Turkish government confirmed that the female companion of the supermarket attacker had entered Syria on Jan. 8 from Turkey, having arrived in Istanbul several days before the killings.

 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron, who was holding an emergency security meeting of his cabinet on Monday, and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi were among 44 foreign leaders marching with French President Francois Hollande on Sunday.

 

Netanyahu visits site of attack at kosher supermarket in Paris (Photo: EPA) (Photo: EPA)
Netanyahu visits site of attack at kosher supermarket in Paris (Photo: EPA)

 

Benjamin Netanyahu - who on Sunday encouraged French Jews to emigrate to Israel - and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas were also present and walked just a few steps from one another. Netanyahu visited the supermarket on Monday.

 

With growing calls for a comprehensive investigation into whether there had been security failings given that the three gunmen were known to intelligence services, Valls and main opposition leader Nicolas Sarkozy agreed on a bi-partisan parliamentary commission into the attacks.

 

Valls also said the government had begun studying ways to strengthen the fight against "homegrown terrorism". France beefed up anti-terrorism legislation last year to prevent its nationals traveling to Syria and Iraq.

 

The prime minister said one proposal being studied was to isolate radical Islamists from the rest of the prison population as repeated cases showed individuals were susceptible to radicalization in jail.

 

 

"There is a lot of work to be done in the prisons. It's a priority," Valls said.

 

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