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French prime minister says it was a "failure" priest killer was released with electronic tag

Manuel Valls also told Le Monde newspaper he is “open” to a temporary ban on the foreign financing of mosques.

THE FRENCH PRIME minister has said it was a “failure” that one of the attackers who killed a priest earlier this week had been released with an electronic tag.

Manuel Valls also told Le Monde newspaper today he is “open” to a temporary ban on the foreign financing of mosques.

The two men who attacked a French church and brutally murdered a priest this week pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group.

Yesterday, the French media said it will no longer use terrorists photos as publications want to prevent “glorification” of the killers.

The attack in the Normandy town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray came as France was still coming to terms with the Bastille Day killings in Nice claimed by IS.

France Church Attack Residents pay tribute at a makeshift memorial in front of the Saint Etienne church where Priest Jacques Hamel was killed. Source: Francois Mori

Security failings 

Valls and Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve have come under fire for perceived security failings that have failed to prevent three major terror attacks in France in 18 months.

The fact that one of the church attackers, 19-year-old Adel Kermiche, was awaiting trial on terror charges and had been fitted with an electronic tag means judges needed to take a “different, case-by-case, approach,” Valls said.

However, the prime minister stressed that the judges in this individual case should not be held responsible for this “act of terrorism.”

France Church Attack Source: Francois Mori

And as the jihadist killing of a priest at the altar of his church sparked fears of religious tensions in secular France, Valls said the country needed to “invent a new relationship” with Islam.

That statement comes just two days after Hollande, members of his government and opposition rivals gathered together at the symbolic Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris for a mass attended by Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders to pay tribute to the murdered priest.

France Church Attack French nun greets a resident during a gathering in a town park for a solemn homage to the Rev. Jacques Hamel in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray. Source: Francois Mori

‘War of religions’

Valls has warned that the goal of the attack, claimed by Islamic State jihadists, was to “set the French people against each other, attack religion in order to start a war of religions”.

France remains on high alert after Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel ploughed a truck into a crowd of people celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, killing 84 people and injuring more than 300.

The 14 July killings were the third major terror attack in France in little more than 18 months.

Since the Nice attack, Hollande has received intense criticism from his political opponents who accuse his government of failing to do enough to prevent the tragedy.

While visiting Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Dublin last week, Hollande said it was correct to ask questions about the event planning, why fireworks were held on 14 July, and what involvement the local and national police had in the event.

He said there would be truth and transparency regarding the investigation. A report will be delivered as soon as next week, he said.

Additional reporting Christina Finn

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