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Enhanced Security Around Churches for Christmas

TERRORISM: The threat of an attack for one of the biggest Christian holidays still looms …

After the bombing of Berlin, vigilance is still up a notch in France. The announcement on Friday of a foiled attack in Australia on Christmas day adds a little particularly tense. This year, the churches will be particularly monitored for the 24th and 25th December.

The Interior Minister Bruno Le Roux asked the prefects to show “exceptional vigilance” on “all the religious places,” particularly during the “Christmas gatherings and offices of the 24th and 25th December”.  On Monday, the new minister recalled in the newspaper Le Monde that “increased mobilization of mobile forces and Sentinel device” was already scheduled.

8,500 soldiers mobilized




Bruno Le Roux also explained that “the number of soldiers mobilized should increase from 7,000 currently to about 8,500 over the last ten days of the year” to secure “all places of assembly” and especially “the Christian worship places on the 24th and 25th December. ”

This Friday, the tenant of the place Beauvau also indicated that “for the end of year celebrations, including the weekend looming, it’s more than 91,000 security forces for what depends on the state who will be deployed: national police, national gendarmerie and military Sentry device. ”

Known targets

In the Paris area, 240 offices will be held in places of worship and will be secure, details the Paris police headquarters. Nearly 120 of them will be even more watched, with police at the entrance and exit. The Cathedral of Notre Dame will have a barrier device with filtering at the entrance. In all, 1,700 Sentinel forces will be engaged in Paris.

The churches have been the target of attack or attacks in France. In July, an attack took place in the church of Saint-Etienne du Rouvray (Seine Maritime), where two jihadists had murdered the priest Jacques Hamel during mass. In 2015, Sid Ahmed Ghlam was arrested in Villejuif (Val-de-Marne) for plotting an attack at a town church.

In addition to places of worship, the checks at the Franco-German border and security of high-traffic sites have also been increased, including the Christmas markets. All safety has been improved compared to last year.

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