euro

France will devote 425 million euros (492 million dollars) and add 2,680 jobs to bolster the fight against terrorism in the wake of this month’s deadly attacks in Paris, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Wednesday.euro

Valls’ announcement came shortly after the Paris prosecutor said four men had been charged with belonging to a terrorist organization and one had been charged with illegal possession of weapons in connection with the attacks, which left 20 people dead, including three attackers.

The four suspects, aged 22 to 28, were detained last week and brought before a court Tuesday to prolong their detentions. The prosecutor said none of the men is being investigated for murder.

The new counterterrorism measures, many of which are slated for implementation over the next three years, earmark 233 million euros for the Ministry of the Interior and 181 million for the Ministry of Justice.

About 1,100 of the new positions are slated for domestic intelligence devoted to counterterrorism operations.

Valls also said a programme to record airline passenger information in computer databases would be implemented in September.

The administration will also look to bolster surveillance, and Valls said a bill outlining new measures that expand government access to information would be sent to Parliament in April.

One of the aims of the plan outlined by Valls is to sharpen prison intelligence after two of the gunmen who carried out the early January attacks, Amedy Coulibaly and Cherif Kouachi, befriended each other while serving sentences at the same prison.

“One thing is certain: The number of radicalized individuals who can carry out an act on our soil is increasing,” Valls said. “We now have to monitor nearly 1,300 people – French and foreigners – in France because of their implication in terrorist networks in Iraq and Syria. This is a 130-per-cent increase in one year.”

He said the government priorities include detecting people who are drawn to “violent ideology,” preventing jihadist proselytizing, reducing access to terrorist propaganda and preventing people from travelling to terrorist-dominated areas to undertake militant training.

GNA

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