Xmas Alert: France to deploy 300 extra soldiers amid recent attacks
"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.
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.
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.
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.
"Réunion de crise" en réaction à Dijon : Manuel Valls déploie 300 militaires dans nos rues, hé la France n'est pas une citadelle assiégée !
— Victor Ben-Ayed (@victorbenayed) December 23, 2014
“Ah, it’s a lot (Ouf),” tweets @bembelly sarcastically
200 à 300 militaires de plus sa va vachement nous aider --'
— Luck (@themothr) December 23, 2014
“@manuelvalls will deploy 300 soldiers during Christmas holidays. According to calculations, there will be 2 [soldiers] in each city,” says @La_Polisse user.
Ah, c'est beaucoup (Ouf!). “Valls annonce le déploiement de 200 à 300 militaires supplémentaires pendant les fêtes http://t.co/eLkAL4kM06”
— bembelly (@bembelly) December 23, 2014
@victorbenayed user mentioned that France is not “a besieged citadel” after boosting security.
.@manuelvalls déploiera 300 militaires de plus pendant les fêtes de Noël. Selon les calculs de Robert ça fera 2 par grande ville.
— Polisse Nationale (@La_Polisse) December 23, 2014
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.