France Needs Sarkozy to Defeat ISIS
Former president Nicolas Sarkozy, who is expected to enter a conservative primary for next year’s presidential election, stepped up his attack on Hollande’s record since the first major attack against satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo last year.
“All this violence and barbarism has paralyzed the French left since January 2015,” Sarkozy told Le Monde newspaper. “It has lost its bearings and is clinging to a mindset that is out of touch with reality.”
Sarkozy has called for the detention or electronic tagging of all suspected Islamist militants, even if they have committed no offense. France’s internal security service has confidential “S files” on some 10,500 suspected or aspiring jihadists.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve rejected Sarkozy’s proposal, saying that to jail them would be unconstitutional and in any case could be counterproductive.
“What has enabled France to break up a large number of terrorist networks is keeping these people under ‘S file’ surveillance, which allows intelligence services to work without these individuals being aware,” he said on Europe 1 radio.
Cazeneuve later told reporters that summer festivals that do not meet tight security standards will be canceled, as the government assigned 23,500 police, soldiers and reservists to protect 56 major cultural and sports events.
In an acknowledgement that the last two attacks occurred outside Paris, the minister announced a shift in the balance of the 10,000 soldiers already on the streets. Some 6,000 will now be based in the provinces.
Two knife-wielding attackers, several hostages, and an elderly priest cut throat — that’s a few keywords of the latest terror attack that has rattled the nerves of millions in Europe and beyond, reinforcing the impression that the region is in the cross hair of terrorists.
The attack, which occurred Tuesday morning when churchgoers in the town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray in northern France were gathering for the morning mass, is also the latest atrocity claimed by the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group.
An 84-year-old priest named Jacques Hamal was killed and another was seriously wounded. The other hostages were unhurt.
The incident was brief as a police unit specializing in hostage situations responded quickly after receiving a call from an escaped nun and gunned down the two attackers as they tried to flee the church.
Despite low number of casualties, the attack still shocked France and Europe at large as it hit a small town far from bustling cities like Paris and Nice, prompting fears that terrorists have managed to penetrate deeper into the region.