France thwarted five attacks since January, prime minister says

France has thwarted five attacks since January, Prime Minister Manuel Valls told France Inter radio on Thursday.

“The threat has never been so high,” Valls said. “We have never in our history been confronted with this kind of terrorism.”

Valls said the figure included the arrest at the weekend of a 24-year-old Algerian man who had planned to attack churches near Paris.

France beefed up security after attacks on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket in Paris in January left 20 people dead, including three Islamist gunmen. The attack prompted a debate about surveillance and security.

Lawmakers are weighing a bill that would broaden the government’s surveillance powers, which they say would help authorities address terrorist threats. Critics say the bill threatens the public’s right to privacy. GNA

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