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French PM Philippe unveils new anti-terror plan

Gérard Julien, AFP | French PM Édouard Philippe unveils the new anti-terror plan at DGSI headquarters in Levallois-Perret, France, July 13, 2018.

France is beefing up its counterterrorism powers and creating new bodies to track radicalised inmates and better identify extremists at risk of turning to violence.

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French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe announced 32 new measures Friday, the latest government effort to head off extremist violence after three years that have seen multiple deadly attacks.

The plan includes creating a new terrorism prosecutor's office and concentrating leadership of counterterrorism activities with the DGSI domestic intelligence agency.

It also calls for a new unit to monitor terrorist convicts and radicalised inmates, and one to identify what pushes radicals to commit violent acts.

Today, "the terrorist is no longer remote controlled by cells located in Syria", said French Prime Minister Philippe as he unveiled the new plan Friday at the DGSI headquarters in Levallois-Perret, a western suburb of Paris. The “new face” of terrorists, said Philippe, includes “petty criminals, the psychologically fragile, indoctrinated or self-radicalised". The threat, he added, "has evolved. We need to adapt ourselves."

More than 200 people have been killed in extremist attacks in France in recent years. Security is especially high for Bastille Day celebrations this weekend, which comes a day ahead of the World Cup 2018 finals in Moscow with the France vs. Croatia match expected to draw thousands on the streets of Paris and other French cities.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP and AP)

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