France frets over 'internal' threat two years after Paris attacks

By REUTERS
November 12, 2017 17:40
1 minute read.
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PARIS - Two years after militants killed 130 people in coordinated attacks across Paris, French officials say there remains an unprecedented level of "internal" threat.

With Islamic State losing ground in Iraq and Syria, hundreds of French citizens - and in some cases their children - are expected to attempt to return to France, leaving the government in a quandary over how to deal with them.

For the first time as president, Emmanuel Macron will pay tribute on Monday to the victims of the mass shootings and suicide bombing that took place across Paris and in the city's northern suburb of Saint-Denis on Nov. 13, 2015.

The attacks, the deadliest on French soil since World War Two, prompted the country to strike back, joining international military operations targeting IS and other Islamist militant groups in Iraq, Syria, Libya and elsewhere.

There has also been the passage of more stringent French legislation, with the most recent law, effective this month, giving police extended powers to search properties, conduct electronic eavesdropping and shut mosques or other locations suspected of preaching hatred.

Conservative politicians say the regulations don't go far enough, while human rights groups express alarm, saying security forces are being given too much freedom to curtail rights.

Macron - often parodied for his 'on the one hand, on the other hand' policy pronouncements - has emphasized the need to balance security and liberty. While he has ended the state of emergency brought in after the attacks, heavily armed soldiers still patrol the streets of Paris daily, and barely a week goes by without a police operation to round up suspects.

travel back," Molins said. "We should not be naive. We are dealing with people who are more 'disappointed' than 'sorry.'"

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