French forces thwart Islamic attack in Orleans

France remains on high alert in wake of last month’s terror attacks and ahead of Christmas and New Year’s celebrations.

By: AP and World Israel News Staff

French authorities announced they thwarted a jihadi attack last week in an area near the central French city Orleans.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Tuesday on a visit near Toulouse that the planned attack targeted “soldiers, police and representatives of the state,” and that two French citizens aged 20 and 24 were arrested on December 19.

Cazeneuve said that the two were in contact with a French jihadi in Syria and that an investigation is going to establish the exact links between the thwarted attack and the jihadi.

Cazeneuve said this brings the total number of foiled attacks in France to 10 since 2013. He also said that 3,414 people have been turned away from France’s borders since a state of emergency was declared after last month’s Islamic terror attacks in Paris that left 132 victims dead.

France has since been on high alert and has been working, together with other intelligence agencies, to track down sleeper terror cells operating on the Continent and to thwart further pending attacks.

France’s interior minister says the government will tighten security for churches around Christmas, amid continued concerns about potential extremist violence after deadly attacks last month.

Cazeneuve also announced Tuesday that France is tightening church security around Christmas and churches will keep only one door open, instead of multiple doors, “to have better filtering at the entrance.”

At a meeting with Christian, Jewish and Muslim religious leaders, Cazeneuve said: “Everything is being done to guarantee security.”

He also says that anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic violence has receded since France imposed a state of emergency in the wake of the Paris attacks.