The Wall Street Journal: Shaken by terror attacks, France vows to step up security

PARIS — French authorities pledged to boost security at high-profile events this summer after the slaying of a priest by Islamist radicals, as officials deepened their investigation into the latest terror attack to stun Europe.

Investigators have tentatively identified a second suspect in the priest’s killing as a French resident whom security services had previously flagged as a terror threat, officials familiar with the investigation said. Authorities had been searching for him after he recently disappeared from his home in Aix-les-Bains in southeast France, officials said. But the authorities warned he has yet to be formally identified.

Prosecutors identified the first suspect in Tuesday’s killing as Adel Kermiche, a 19-year-old who had been arrested twice for attempting to reach the battlefields of Syria and Iraq. Police shot dead both assailants as they exited the church.

The priest’s slaying left France — a predominantly Catholic country with a large Muslim population — reeling once again after the Bastille Day attack that killed 84 in Nice. It has also prompted new questions about the government’s antiterror policies. Yet French police and security services are fast approaching the limit of their capacity to stop attacks, worn down by dealing with the threat posed by thousands of extremists believed to be on French soil. Police and local officials say the country is struggling to hire and train forces fast enough.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Wednesday that 23,500 police, soldiers and reservists would be deployed to bolster security at 56 events across the country this summer. France is host to dozens of festivals and major concerts during the summer, a major draw for visitors in a country where tourism is a big economic driver.

He said he had asked police to contact the mayors of cities hosting events to detail their security needs and the measures in place. “If all the conditions to ensure optimal security aren’t met, the events will be canceled,” Cazeneuve said. Some 2,500 people have also expressed interest in joining the reserves since the Nice attack, he added.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

More from MarketWatch

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *