France Deploys 7,000 Troops for Extra Security After Teacher Slain

By Reuters
October 14, 2023France
France Deploys 7,000 Troops for Extra Security After Teacher Slain
French police officers keep watch in front of the Louvre museum, closed for security reasons, in Paris, as French government puts the nation on its highest state of alert after a deadly knife attack in northern France, on Oct. 14, 2023. (Sarah Meyssonnier/Reuters)

PARIS—French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday deployed up to 7,000 soldiers for increased security patrols, as bomb alerts forced the evacuation of the Louvre museum a day after a teacher was killed in an Islamist attack.

France was put on its highest security alert on Friday after a 20-year-old man fatally stabbed a teacher and gravely wounded two other people at a school in the city of Arras in northern France.

The Louvre museum, the Palace of Versailles and Paris’ Gare de Lyon train station were evacuated on Saturday after receiving bomb alerts, which proved to be false alarms, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said.

He declined to comment on the investigation into the Arras attack but said a “jihadist atmosphere” had developed following events in the Middle East, where Israel is conducting a military offensive against Hamas fighters after their deadly rampage last Saturday.

“We think the absolutely disgusting geopolitics has allowed a certain number of people to take action in the name of radical Islam,” Darmanin told a news conference.

Macron’s office said the soldiers would be deployed by Monday evening until further notice as part of an ongoing security operation in major city centres and tourist sites.

The latest security alert comes as France hosts the Rugby World Cup and less than a year before Paris welcomes the Olympic Games, which include plans for an unprecedented opening ceremony outside a stadium and a parade down the river Seine.

Darmanin told a news conference that 3,500 police officers would be deployed on Saturday and Sunday to provide security for the matches as well as to protect Jewish sites.

France has been targeted by a series of Islamist attacks over the years, the worst being a simultaneous assault by gunmen and suicide bombers on entertainment venues and cafes in Paris in November 2015.

Darmanin said 189 anti-Semitic acts had been identified since last Saturday and 65 arrests made, adding that several pro-Hamas associations would be dissolved.

France has banned pro-Palestinian protests and nine people were arrested at small demonstration in Paris on Saturday in defiance of the ban.

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