France raises alarm on New Year’s Eve with ‘very high’ terror threat: Report

France raises alarm on New Year’s Eve with ‘very high’ terror threat: Report

According to a report by The Telegraph, Interior Minister Gerard Darmanin said to deploy 90,000 police officers and gendarmes across France for security during the celebrations.

“I’ve requested a very strong mobilisation of police forces and the gendarmerie under the context of a very high terrorist threat, of course, due to what’s happening in Israel and Palestine,” The Telegraph quoted Darmanin as saying.

Around 5,000 soldiers from Operation Sentinel, a military initiative designed to safeguard the French population from terrorism, along with 35,000 firefighters, will be deployed.

Also Read: ‘Could no longer see Muslims dying’: Man kills 1, injures 2 others near Eiffel tower

In Paris, where an estimated 1.5 million individuals are anticipated to gather on the Champs-Elysees for the New Year’s Eve countdown, 6,000 officers will be actively patrolling. Additionally, police will be authorized to incorporate drones into their operations for the first time.

Meanwhile, in anticipation of potential violence, Germany is making preparations, and authorities have declared one of the most extensive police operations in years to ensure the security of the streets of Berlin.

According to the report, Nancy Faeser, the German interior minister, said, she was “concerned that New Year’s Eve could once again be a day on which we experience blind rage and senseless violence”.

Also Read: France evacuates Palace of Versailles for second time in 4 days over ‘new bomb threat’

She stressed violence had increased on December 31 in recent years. Feaser added, “Of course, we have to keep a very close eye on the danger of this mixing with radicalisation, which we are now seeing in light of the Middle East conflict.”

Approximately 4,000 police officers will be stationed across the German capital, with additional support from officers brought in from various regions. Germany has experienced a rise in reported terror plots since the commencement of the Gaza conflict, leading to the closure of Cologne Cathedral over Christmas due to concerns about a potential Islamic State (IS) attack.

Also Read: French President Emmanuel Macron urges Israel to stop ‘bombing’, ‘killing’ babies and women in Gaza

In France, Darmanin said, “The situation in Israel and Gaza had exacerbated the terror threats it was facing,” but noted the country has been a “target for attacks for many years.”

France elevated its counter-terrorism alert to its highest level in mid-October, following the fatal stabbing of a teacher in Arras by a radicalized former student who reportedly shouted “Allahu Akbar” during the attack. This incident occurred a week after Hamas initiated its attack on Israel on October 7.

At that time, Interior Minister Darmanin asserted a connection between the attack in Arras and the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.

Also Read: Security tightened at Cologne Cathedral over New Year’s Eve attack threat

Earlier, the interior minister directed law enforcement to exercise heightened vigilance during the Christmas holiday, which, transpired without any untoward incidents.

“The presence of dissuasive law enforcement and the work of our intelligence services are extremely reassuring and effective for our fellow citizens who must continue to live and celebrate if they wish,” he said.

The Telegraph further noted that despite the extensive mobilization of security forces across France during the weekend, unarmed municipal police officers in Paris plan to go on strike on both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, seeking increased wages.

Unions have indicated that as many as 80 per cent of municipal police forces nationwide may participate in the strike on December 31, citing similar grievances.

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Published: 30 Dec 2023, 06:29 AM IST

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