Express, December 15, 2016
Bruno Le Roux said that there were currently more than 7,000 heavily armed ‘Sentinelle’ soldiers patrolling France’s streets.
But the interior minister said up to 3,000 additional troops would be deployed to protect sensitive targets, such as airports, stations, Christmas markets, and places of worship, including churches and synagogues.
The interior minister told the French radio station RTL that Islamic State militants still posed a “serious threat” and that the country remained on “high alert” following the string of bloody terrorist attacks on French soil.
More than 230 people have been killed in jihadist attacks orchestrated by ISIS in less than two years.
In November 215, 130 people were killed in the Paris terror attacks, and 86 people died in Nice during this year’s July 14 Bastille Daycelebrations.
Mr. Le Roux added that he wanted people to make the most of the “joy-filled” end-of-year festivities, despite the looming terror threat.
He said: “I want the streets to be teeming with tourists and I want the French to be able to go out and have fun. But, in order to make that happen, we need to keep people 100 per cent safe.”
Earlier this week, Mr. Le Roux said that 16 potential attacks had been foiled this year thanks to the extra search and arrest powers granted to police under the state of emergency, which is to be extended for the fifth time in a row before the end of this week.
But less than two weeks after his surprise nomination, Mr. Le Roux, a former Socialist lawmaker, is already running into trouble.
The new interior minister has been placed on Azerbaijan’s ‘blacklist’ and slapped with a travel ban.
Hikmet Hajiyev, Azerbaijan’s foreign ministry spokesman, said on Wednesday that Mr. Le Roux had travelled to Azerbaijan “illegally” in 2015 and had entered the country “without permission”.
Mr. Hajiyev said that, by doing so, Mr. Le Roux had “violated the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan” and was therefore banned from entering the country.