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French President Francois Hollande has said he would beef up security around Jewish institutions. “Security will be reinforced in the coming days,” Hollande said after meeting Jewish leaders on Sunday at the Elysee palace, vowing that the state was ready “to fight all terror threats.”
France’s Jewish community has been on edge after a series of attacks in recent months. In the worst incident, 23-year-old Mohamed Merah, seemingly acting alone, killed three soldiers in two separate attacks before shooting dead three children and a rabbi outside a Jewish school in Toulouse.
Interior Minister Manuel Valls said there were several hundred radical Islamists in France capable of acts of terrorism, and that its prisons were breeding radicalism.
President Francois Hollande promised on Sunday to step up security around synagogues and said the government would soon present legislation to parliament that would allow police to arrest people believed to have been involved in terrorism-related activity outside France.
The Socialist government is taking a hard line on terrorism, saying no act will be tolerated, as it tries to avoid a repeat of the bloodshed in Toulouse.
The incident prompted authorities to raise the terrorism alert in the Toulouse region to “scarlet”, the highest level - the first time this had been done in France.
That was later reduced to “red”, where it had been since coordinated attacks on the London transport system in 2005.