In an interview with FRANCE 24 on Thursday, French President François Hollande said France would help fight Islamist terrorists abroad and “hunt down and eliminate” terrorist cells at home.
The French government will “hunt down and eliminate” terrorist cells within its borders, President François Hollande said on Thursday, amid rising concern over homegrown religious extremism and anti-Semitism around the country.
“There are [terrorist] cells –I still don’t know how widespread they are, investigations are underway– that want to turn radical Islam into a force of hatred and violence. We will not let them get away; we will hunt them down and eliminate them,” Hollande told FRANCE 24 in an exclusive interview.
"We need to be vigilant of terrorists in France"
The president’s remarks were made on the same day that a French prosecutor announced he would seek “attempted murder” charges against seven suspected terrorists who were arrested over the weekend across the country. The men, whose leader was shot dead by police during the raids, are suspected of seeking to carry out anti-Semitic attacks in France.
Blank bullets were fired at a synagogue west of Paris on Saturday and a kosher grocery store was the target of a grenade attack last month.
Hollande also said that most Muslims wanted to practice their religion in peace, and in the spirit of “great tolerance” that Islam had displayed during its history. “We should not lump everyone together,” he warned.
The French president spoke on the eve of his first official tour of Africa, where he said he would address religious extremism in northern Mali and the Sahel region.
He said France would commit logistical support and training to help African troops reclaim northern Mali from Islamic rebels, saying it was dangerous to allow the region to become a training ground for terrorists.
“By allowing AQIM, that is to say al Qaeda, to prosper in the Sahel, I would put my country at great risk because the terrorism could come from there.
“We have even learned that there are French expatriates in Mali, as there are in Somalia, as we have found in Syria, who could then return to the country with terrorist objectives. I cannot allow that.”
However, he also said some terrorist cells in the country were likely homegrown and had “no connection” to foreign militants.
Date created : 2012-10-11