Xmas Alert: France to deploy 300 extra soldiers amid recent attacks

Xmas Alert: France to deploy 300 extra soldiers amid recent attacks
France is boosting security during the Christmas holidays employing up to 300 soldiers across the country, Prime Minister Manuel Valls says. The move follows three successive and violent attacks in separate cities.

"The number of patrols will be increased during this [Christmas] period. Two hundred to three hundred soldiers will be deployed in the coming hours," PM Manuel Valls said live on TV after an emergency meeting with ministers on the recent violence.

READ MORE: 10 injured as man drives van into Christmas fair in Nantes, France

Police inpect the van a driver used to plough into a Christmas market injuring at least ten people before stabbing himself in the western French city of Nantes on December 22, 2014. (AFP Photo/Georges Gobet)

The attacks started on Saturday when a man armed with a knife shouting "Allahu Akbar” stabbed three officers at a police station in Joue-les-Tours near Tours in central France. He was killed by police officers, according to the country's Interior Ministry. Police confirmed that he was born in Burundi, Africa, in 1994, but was a French citizen.

READ MORE: Driver shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ hits crowds of pedestrians in France

Policemen collect evidence on December 21, 2014 in Dijon on the site where a driver shouting "Allahu Akbar" ("God is great") ploughed into a crowd injuring 11 people, two seriously, a source close to the investigation said. (AFP Photo/Arnaud Finistre)

The next attack occurred on Sunday after a mentally unstable driver, also shouting “Allahu Akbar”, ran into crowds of pedestrians in several separate locations in Dijon. 11 people were injured in the incident.

French prosecutors said the Dijon attacker had no terrorist motives. He has a long history of severe mental illness, receiving psychiatric care over 150 times in the past 13 years. The authorities found no link between his actions and the attack on Saturday in Joue-les-Tours.

Police stands outside the police station of Joue les-Tours on December 20, 2014 where French police shot dead a man who attacked them with a knife in a police station while shouting "Allahu Akbar" ("God is great" in Arabic). (AFP Photo/Guillaume Souvant)

The third attack in Nantes, western France, left at least ten people injured after a minivan crashed into a Christmas market on Monday. The driver attempted to stab himself to death following the crash, but was arrested and taken to hospital.

According to Valls, all three incidents were "distinct"; he called upon the country’s residents and citizens to keep calm, as social media users in France were actively retweeting the information about the incidents, speculating on the attacks.
On Tuesday, one man died following the attack in Nantes, France’s President Francois Hollande said.

“Ah, it’s a lot (Ouf),” tweets @bembelly sarcastically

“@manuelvalls will deploy 300 soldiers during Christmas holidays. According to calculations, there will be 2 [soldiers] in each city,” says @La_Polisse user.

@victorbenayed user mentioned that France is not “a besieged citadel” after boosting security.

French authorities estimate that around 1,200 legal residents are involved in jihadist networks in Iraq and Syria. The attacks come after police carried out raids earlier this month against suspected jihadists, who were preparing to join Islamic State fighters in Syria.