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France steps up security over terrorism threat

© Bertrand Guay, AFP | French forces patrol a train station

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-09-25

France announced that it will increase security on transport and in public spaces on Thursday amid growing concerns over the threat of terrorism.

“Preventive measures against the risk of terrorism will be strengthened at public sites and on transport,” read a statement issued by the French presidency following a war cabinet meeting.

The statement also said that France was prepared to assist any state that requests its help in combating terrorism, and that the government would also increase its support to Syrian opposition forces fighting jihadists on the ground.

The new security measures were announced one day after French hiker Hervé Gourdel was beheaded by the Algerian Islamic State-linked jihadist group Jund al-Khalifa.

The 55-year-old mountaineering guide, originally from Nice in the south of France, was kidnapped by the group over the weekend while hiking in the mountainous Tizi Ouzou area.

The Jund al-Khalifa fi Ard al-Jazayer – variously translated as the “Soldiers of the Caliphate in Algeria” or “Caliphate Soldiers of Algeria” – emerged earlier this month, when a regional commander of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) released a statement announcing that he had broken away from al Qaeda and had sworn loyalty to the Islamic State (IS) group, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

In a grisly decapitation video posted on jihadist sites Wednesday, Jund al-Khalifa militants said they killed Gourdel because France failed to respond to a 24-hour deadline to stop its military assault on the IS group in Iraq.

Following news of Gourdel’s death, French President François Hollande denounced the killing, saying that it only reinforced his determination to combat terrorism.

“France will never give in to terrorism because it is our duty and above all, it is our honour,” he said on Wednesday night.

Speaking in New York, where he was attending a UN General Assembly meeting, Hollande said that France would continue its military operations against the IS group.

On Thursday, government spokesman Stéphane Le Foll confirmed that French fighter jets had carried out strikes on targets in Iraq that morning.

Date created : 2014-09-25


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