The French Prime Minister has acknowledged that the death toll over three days of terrorist attacks and manhunts in Paris shows a “clear failing” in security and intelligence.
Manuel Valls told television station BMF TV that 17 people had died since Wednesday, when eight journalists, two police officers, a caretaker and a visitor were massacred at the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
While the gunmen were on the run, associate Amédy Coulibaly killed a 26-year-old police officer on Thursday and on Friday burst into a kosher grocery shop in Paris, shooting four people dead and keeping the rest as hostages until police stormed the building hours later.
All three suspects were killed by special forces when their hideouts were raided. Mr Valls said their deaths were unavoidable because they opened fire on police.
He admitted there had been “flaws” in the way intelligence services tracked people likely to commit attacks as evidence emerged of the trio’s links to known terrorists, al-Qaeda in Yemen and Isis.
Like in Britain, hundreds of French Islamists are believed to have travelled to Syria or Iraq, stoking authorities’ fears of returning jihadists planning attacks on home ground.
Mr Valls told BMF TV that France would wage a “war against terrorism” after the unprecedented attacks and vowed to protect a national march scheduled for Sunday in Paris, due to be attended by President Francois Hollande, David Cameron and other world leaders.
“I saw this to our citizens – we must respond by gathering around our values of democracy…do not lose your values, that is what the terrorists want.”
He promised “massive security measures” to be deployed in the capital and along the route of the procession, which is expected to be attended by hundreds of thousands of people.
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