France is set to deploy nearly 100,000 soldiers and police officers across the country to beef up security in the face of possible terror threats during Christmas and New Year’s celebrations. “For the end-of-year festivities, and especially Christmas weekend, there will be more than 91,000 members of the security forces deployed including members of the national police, national gendarmes and soldiers, as part of Operation Sentinel,” French Interior Minister Bruno Le Roux said Friday.
He was referring to Operation Sentinel, which was launched by France’s army after the deadly attacks on the offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in January of 2015 and the later Paris assaults. Dozens of people were killed in Paris in November 2015, while 86 more lost their lives in July 2016 when a truck rammed into a crowd in a southern resort in Nice.
The minister noted that the terrorist threat “is high” and France’s response “has never been stronger.” Speaking at a meeting with the security personnel at Gare de Lyon station in Paris, Le Roux said he wanted to visit the station as it “will see a huge rise in passengers today and tomorrow.” “I wanted to show the perfect coordination between the hundreds of personnel on duty including the police, soldiers and security staff with [French rail operator] SNCF and [Paris public transport operator] RATP.”
Le Roux underlined that the measure aims to boost security in general and not a direct response to the truck attack at Berlin’s Christmas market earlier this month. France remains on high alert since January last year. The European country has witnessed terrorist attacks, mostly claimed by Takfiri terrorists based in the Middle East, over the past year. Earlier this month, French lawmakers approved an extension of the country‘s state of emergency, which has been in place since November 2015.