Minister warns of more militant attacks in France

Minister warns of more militant attacks in France
Minister warns of more militant attacks in France
France’s interior minister said more militant attacks on its soil are likely and the country is embroiled in a war on Islamist ideology following the second fatal knife attack in its cities in two weeks.

Gerald Damarnin spoke the day after an assailant shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest) beheaded a woman and killed two other people in a church in Nice.

The man was shot dead by police and is currently in critical condition in the hospital.

“We are in a war against an enemy who is both inside and outside,” Damarnin told RTL Radio.

“We need to understand that there have been and will be other events like these horrific attacks.”

President Emmanuel Macron has deployed thousands of soldiers to protect important sites such as places of worship and schools, and France’s security alert is of the highest order.

Yesterday’s attack on the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday came at a time of growing Muslim anger around the world as France defended the right to publish cartoons depicting the Prophet.

Protesters who view the cartoons as an insult to Muhammad have denounced France at street rallies in several Muslim-majority countries.

Tens of thousands of people protested in Bangladesh today, chanting slogans such as “Boycott French products” and carrying banners describing Mr. Macron as “the world’s greatest terrorist” as they marched through the streets of the capital Dhaka.

France’s top anti-terrorist prosecutor said the man suspected of carrying out the Nice attack was a Tunisian born in 1999 who arrived on September 20 in Lampedusa, the Italian island off Tunisia which is a major landing point for migrants from Africa, arrived in Europe.

A Tunisian security source and a French police source named the suspect Brahim Aouissaoui.

According to a judicial source, a 47-year-old man was taken into custody on suspicion of being in contact with the perpetrator of the attack.

The Nice attack came just under two weeks after Samuel Paty, a school teacher in the suburbs of Paris, was beheaded by an 18-year-old Chechen who was apparently outraged by the teacher who showed a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad in class.

It was also the second miliant attack in Nice in recent years. In July 2016, a militant drove a truck through a seaside crowd to celebrate Bastille Day, killing 86 people.

People gathered in front of Notre Dame Church today to lay flowers and light candles.

Frederic Lefevre attached heart-shaped balloons to the church gate. “I knew him very well, the person who was killed in the church,” he said.

“I’m from Nice and it’s another tragedy. We are a free country. Let us love freedom – this is a message to the world. Life should be spiritual. No god should kill. ”

Another Nice resident, Marc Mercier, said: “It was during the day for people who didn’t ask for it. It’s horrific. ”

Mr Macron said France had been attacked “because of our values, because of our taste for freedom, because of the ability on our soil to have freedom of belief … we will not give a reason.”

At the protest in Dhaka, however, protesters accused Mr. Macron of promoting Islamophobia.

“He doesn’t know the power of Islam. The Muslim world will not allow this for nothing. We will stand up and show solidarity with him, ”said one, Akramul Haq.

Flower tributes are placed in front of the church in Nice

French prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard said the alleged attacker came to Nice by train yesterday morning and made his way to the church, where he stabbed and killed the 55-year-old sexton and beheaded a 60-year-old woman.

He also stabbed a 44-year-old woman who fled to a nearby coffee shop where she raised the alarm about her death, Ricard said.

The police arrived and confronted the attacker, who was still shouting “Allahu Akbar,” and shot and wounded him.

In the Tunisian city of Sfax, the suspect’s family said he spoke to them on a video call outside the church hours before the attack, but that he had shown no evidence that he had planned violence.

Brahim Aouissaoui went to the Notre Dame Church shortly after arriving in Nice to look for a place to sleep, said his sister Afef. He said he intended to rest in a building across from the church.

Family members said they were shocked at the idea that he committed such a violent crime.

“My brother is a kind person and has never shown extremism,” said his older brother Yassin. “He respected all other people and accepted their differences since he was a child.”

Tunisia said he was not listed as a suspected militant by the police and the authorities had started their own investigation.

France, with Europe’s largest Muslim community, has suffered a number of militant Islamist attacks in recent years, including the Paris bombings and shootings in 2015 that killed 130 people and the Nice attack in 2016.

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