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France’s PM vows to fight ‘relentlessly’ against ‘radical Islam’

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Jean Castex says government will mobilise all its forces to fight ‘enemy’ at memorial for Nice church attack victims.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex has said his government would keep “fighting relentlessly” against “radical Islam” as he paid tribute to the three victims of a knife attack in the southern city of Nice last month.

“We know the enemy. Not only has it been identified, but it has a name, it is radical Islam, a political ideology that disfigures the Muslim religion,” Castex said in a speech during a ceremony for the victims on Saturday.

“(It is) an enemy that the government is fighting relentlessly by providing the necessary resources and mobilising all of its forces every day,” he added.

Concerns over security and immigration have increased in France after the knife attack at a church in Nice on October 29 saw three people killed.

The man suspected of carrying out the Nice attack – still in a critical condition after being shot by police – was a 21-year-old Tunisian born who had arrived in Europe on September 20, landing in Lampedusa, the Italian island off Tunisia. He has been identified as Brahim Issaoui.

The attack came after the beheading of Samuel Paty, a school teacher in a Paris suburb who showed his pupils caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad during a discussion on free speech.

French President Emmanuel Macron’s subsequent defence of the right to draw the prophet drew the ire of Muslim communities across the world, with trade associations in several Muslim countries announcing a boycott of French products.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Macron denied that the cartoons were a “government project”, saying they emerged from free and independent newspapers that were not affiliated with the state.

Macron has also begun pushing for tighter security at the external borders of Europe’s Schengen free-travel zone.

After a gunman killed four in the Austrian capital, Vienna, on Monday, France has already doubled the number of guards on borders with its European Union neighbours to 4,800, and raised its terror alert level to the highest setting.



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