France’s Socialist government fended off criticism of its security record yesterday in the wake of revelations that one of the assailants who slit the throat of a priest at a church altar was a known would-be jihadist under police surveillance.
President François Hollande’s predecessor and potential opponent in a presidential election next year, Nicolas Sarkozy, said the government must take stronger steps to track Islamist sympathisers.
The attack came less that two weeks after another suspected Islamist drove a truck into a Bastille Day crowd, killing 84 people.
Opposition politicians have responded to the attacks with strong criticism of the government’s security record, unlike last year, when they made a show of unity after gunmen and bombers killed 130 people at Paris entertainment venues in November and attacked a satirical newspaper in January.
“All this violence and barbarism has paralysed the French left since January 2015,” Sarkozy, who is expected to enter a conservative primary for next year’s presidential election, told Le Monde newspaper.
“It has lost its bearings and is clinging to a mindset that is out of touch with reality.”
False threat at Geneva airport
A woman who wanted to stop her husband boarding a plane at Geneva has admitted making a false bomb threat, prosecutors said yesterday after hours of tightened security that caused traffic chaos around the airport.
“Yesterday, a woman called Swiss customs at Geneva airport. She said that today a person carrying a bomb would be in the French sector of the airport,” the Geneva prosecutor’s office said in a statement.
The Swiss authorities traced the number to Annecy in France, some 45kms from Geneva, where French police raided an address.
“They found a woman who admitted to having made the call and explained that she wanted thereby to prevent her husband from leaving,” the statement said
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