France defends record on security

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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