France to reinforce security, spy forces following attacks

Prime minister Manuel Valls to boost ‘human and material’ intelligence assets

French prime minister Manuel Valls attends a news conference to unveil new security measures ahead of a defence council at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, 21st January 2015. Photograph: EPA/Philippe Wojazer

French prime minister Manuel Valls attends a news conference to unveil new security measures ahead of a defence council at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, 21st January 2015. Photograph: EPA/Philippe Wojazer

 

France is to recruit extra police, spies and investigators to boost national security and intelligence, prime minister Manuel Valls announced on Wednesday, two weeks after 17 people were killed in terror attacks.

Warning the threat remained high, Mr Valls said the state would hire 2,680 in the police, justice, intelligence and defence sectors by 2018 for anti-jihadi work, surveillance and security.

Dozens of extra Muslim chaplains would also be employed to work with potential militants in France’s overcrowded jails.

“The fight against terrorism, jihadism and radical Islam will be a long haul,” Mr Valls told a news conference after the measures were agreed by president Francois Hollande’s cabinet.

“The first requirement is that we further reinforce the human and material assets of our intelligence services,” he said.

Despite commitments worth a total €425 million in extra spending, Mr Valls said France would respect public finance commitments made to its EU partners.

Charged

Four men aged 22 to 28 were charged on Wednesday in connection with the killing of a police officer and of four hostages at the kosher supermarket near Paris, a prosecutor said.

The men are suspected of having bought weapons including knives and tear gas later found among the possessions of Amedy Coulibaly, the gunman who attacked the store.

Coulibaly was killed in a stand off with police, as were the two gunmen responsible for the attacks on satirical weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Somali Islamist militant group al Shabaab praised al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) over the attack, describing them in a statement as “the pioneers of external operations that target the heart of the Crusader enemies”.

Reuters