French PM: Time to question our legal arsenal on terror


PARIS (JTA) — French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said France should rethink its laws on fighting terrorism following an unprecedented series of attacks this week.

“It is legitimate for us to pose questions about our arsenal of laws,” Valls said at a news conference Friday in Paris, held as special forces and police were preparing to move on two simultaneous hostage situations — one at a kosher supermarket in eastern Paris and another at a printing shop north of the French capital.

Valls said any new legislation should “not be improvised” but introduced duly after thorough deliberation. He also said in an interview with the TF1 news channel, “We have never seen simultaneous attacks over three days, it’s a shock. Seventeen Frenchmen killed in three days, this hasn’t happened in decades.”

Police are still looking for Hayat Boumeddiene, who is believed to have helped her partner, Amedy Coulibaly, take over a kosher supermarket Friday.

French special forces killed Coulibaly, 32, when they stormed the shop. Witnesses said he had killed four hostages before being killed himself. Boumeddiene, 26, was seen at the scene at the time of the takeover but police did not find her in the shop.

A total of 21 people were trapped in the shop for several hours before police stormed in, the news site reported based on survivors’ testimonies.

Coulibaly is believed to have been a member of the same Islamist cell as Chérif and Said Kouachi, the suspected killers of 12 people on Wednesday at the offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine, which has come under attack in the past for publishing items deemed offensive to Islam.

The brothers were also killed Friday, when special forces stormed a printing shop they had taken over north of Paris, where they held one hostage.

French President Francois Hollande has called on his countrymen to attend a unity march on Sunday in memory of the victims and as a sign of solidarity against the violence. Hollande announced he would march in the rally, which was organized after the Charlie Hebdo killings.

According to Le Figaro, Sunday’s march will be the first time in 25 years that a French president participates in a protest rally. The last time was in 1990, when François Mitterrand joined one against racism in response to the desecration of Jewish graves at the cemetery of Carpentrasma.

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