France ups anti-terror patrols for holiday season

Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin on Thursday ordered extra military patrols in French public transportation as a precaution against the threat of terrorism during the holiday season. An extra 250 soldiers will be deployed, complementing about 780 operating in daily counterterrorism patrols, and a reserve force of 1,000 more will be created, Villepin's office said. The prime minister made no mention of any specific threat. France is maintaining its terrorism alert status at "red" - the second-highest level - but local police and authorities were reminded of the increased terror threat during the holidays. The measures will primarily involve train stations, airports and other public transport, though officials encouraged checks of handbags at store entrances as an additional precaution.