France to monitor 3,000 suspected jihadists, spend 735 million euros on anti-terror measures
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Nearly 3,000 people in France need to be monitored for jihadist links, Prime Minister Manuel Valls announced on Wednesday, as he revealed his government’s response to this month’s Charlie Hebdo attacks. Over 700 million euros will be invested in new anti-terror measures over the next three years.
“In total nearly 3,000 people need to be under surveillance” in France because of their links to jihadists or “terrorist networks” in Syria and Iraq, Valls told the media on Wednesday.
That is a rise of 130 per cent in the past year.
The country faces a “redoubtable challenge” and a “change of scale which forces us to take exceptional measures”, the prime minister said.
The total cost, when an increased wage bill is included, will be 735 million euros, to be paid for by savings in other government spending.
Extra equipment, including better weapons and protective clothing for the police, and running costs will total 425 million euros; .
An extra 2,680 anti-terror jobs will be created, mostly by the interior, justice and defence ministries.
The PNR air passenger monitoring system should be operative in France by September, Valls said, and parliament will debate a bill on improving intelligence in March.
The government also wants to stop the jihadists recruiting, creating an internet site to fight against it and ramping up surveillance of “cyber-jihadism”.
An extra 60 Muslim chaplains will be added to the 182 already working in French prisons, which are believed to be a recruiting ground for violent Islamist groups.
The government was also to announce plans to teach respect for secularism, diversity and public spiritedness in schools later in the day.
Valls called for a cross-party discussion on right-wing MPs’ proposal to strip convicted terrorists of their civic rights, including the right to vote, with conclusions to be reached within six weeks.
Eric Ciotti of the opposition UMP said his party would back Valls’s proposals in keeping with the “national unity that we have all shown”.