PARIS Dec 21 France is carrying out "preventive
arrests" and checking on deployment of concrete barriers at
Christmas markets amid fears of a strike by Islamist militants
following Monday's Berlin attack.
A government spokesman said organisers of Christmas markets
had been contacted to verify all security measures, including
baggage checks, in the light of Monday's Berlin attack when a
truck careered into a market killing 12 people.
Fears of attacks by Islamist militants are running high in
France, where more than 230 people have been killed in assaults
in the past two years and emergency rule has been in place for
over a year.
France's government imposed emergency rule after Islamist
militants killed 130 people in Paris in November 2015, giving
police wider search and arrest powers to target suspects
considered a threat to security.
Government spokesman Stephane Le Foll said precautionary
arrests, part of a continual anti-terrorism campaign, were aimed
at avoiding "all risk of an attack and organisation of an
attack". He gave no numbers.
"Everything is in place to head off the risks," Le Foll told
journalists at a regular media briefing on government affairs.
Police spokeswoman Johanna Primevert said soldiers would be
posted to ensure security at places of worship, where people
tend to flock in larger-than-usual numbers on Dec. 25, one of
the big dates of the Christian calendar in a traditionally Roman
Security sources in Berlin said German police were looking
for a Tunisian man after finding an identity document under the
driver's seat of the truck that ploughed into the Berlin market.
French Interior Minister Bruno Le Roux said on Tuesday
dozens of people were being tracked as potentially dangerous,
many of them people who had been to Syria, base of the Islamic
State group, which has called for more attacks on France.
French jets are part of a broader coalition force that is
bombing Islamic State strongholds in Syria and Iraq.
(Reporting by Elizabeth Pineau and Brian Love; Writing by
Andrew Callus; editing by Ralph Boulton)