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AP/Press Association Images

French minister calls on all citizens to become reservists to help protect the country

Four men believed to be linked to the Tunisian who killed 84 people in the attack were arrested in France overnight.

Updated 7.10pm

FRENCH INTERIOR MINISTER Bernard Cazeneuve today called on citizens to become reservists and help boost security forces in the wake of the country’s latest terror attack.

France’s “operational reservists” include French citizens with or without military experience as well as former soldiers.

“I want to call on all French patriots who wish to do so, to join this operational reserve,” said Cazeneuve.

His call comes after the government has been criticised for not doing more to stop attacks.

French President Francois Hollande said yesterday that reservists would be called upon to boost the ranks of police and gendarmes.

The operational reserve is currently made up of 12,000 volunteers, 9,000 of whom are within the paramilitary police and 3,000 in the regular police force, said Cazeneuve.

“We are going to reinforce the presence of security forces across the country,” he added.

He said the number of security forces deployed to protect the population was nearly 100,000, including 53,000 police, 36,000 para-military police and 10,000 soldiers.


Earlier, Cazeneurve said the truck driver who killed 84 people when he careened into a crowd in Nice was “radicalised very quickly”.

nice attacker

Speaking to journalists at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Cazeneuve said that the case demonstrated the “extreme difficulty of the fight against terrorism.”

The Islamic State terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement carried by the group’s media outlet this morning.

It said one of its “soldiers” carried out Thursday night’s attack “in response to calls to target nations of coalition states that are fighting (IS)”.

The statement comes as four men believed to be linked to the Tunisian who killed 84 people in the attack were arrested in France overnight.

One of the men being held was arrested last night and three others on this morning, a judicial source said. The driver’s estranged wife is also being held by police.

The new arrests came as French President Francois Hollande met with the head of the armed forces and ministers after calling a meeting of his top security advisers in Paris.

Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, 31, smashed a 19-tonne truck into a mass of people as the traditional July 14 national day fireworks celebration was ending in the French Riviera city.

At least 10 children and teenagers were killed, with around 50 other children injured, some of them “hanging between life and death”, a hospital official said.

Investigators were piecing together a profile of Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, a man with a record of petty crime and domestic violence, but no known connection to terrorist groups.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls said the attacker probably had links to radical Islam, but Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve cautioned it was too early to make the connection.

- © AFP 2016 with reporting from Associated Press.

Read: Five children fighting for their lives after truck attack in Nice

Read: Update: ‘No reason to believe’ Irish people caught up in Nice terror attack

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