France unveils raft of anti-terror measures after attacks

France unveiled a raft of measures on Wednesday to curb radicalisation and better monitor jihadists two weeks after an Islamist killing spree in Paris that sent shockwaves across Europe.

AFP| Updated: Jan 21, 2015, 22:01 PM IST

Paris: France unveiled a raft of measures on Wednesday to curb radicalisation and better monitor jihadists two weeks after an Islamist killing spree in Paris that sent shockwaves across Europe.

Jitters from the worst attack on French soil in decades have spread to the country's neighbours and the European Union is also expected to reveal new counterterrorism measures today.

In Paris, Prime Minister Manuel Valls announced more than 700 million euros (USD 800 million) will be spent over the next three years on "the fight against terrorism" after the January 7-9 shootings which left 17 people dead.

The attacks by known Islamists exposed weaknesses in French intelligence, and Valls said some 3,000 people with jihadist ties needed to be monitored, adding that the number of people with links to "terrorist networks" in Syria and Iraq had soared 130 per cent in the past year alone.

In response, France will create 2,680 new jobs to fight extremism, just under half of them in the intelligence services.

"The number one priority, the number one requirement, is to further reinforce the human and technical resources of intelligence services," Valls said, adding that a draft law to do just that would be debated in parliament in early March.

A large part of the effort to combat extremism is fighting radicalisation, and Valls announced an extra 60 Muslim chaplains would be hired on top of the 182 who already work in jails.

Two of the Paris gunmen, Amedy Coulibaly and Cherif Kouachi, are believed to have turned to radical Islam in prison where they met.

Valls last week said prisoners linked to extremist Islam could be isolated in jail, and one jail near Paris is currently experimenting with this method.

Authorities will also boost their fight against "cyber jihadism", he said, without giving specific details.