France deploys 'protection' to thousands of churches for Easter celebrations

France's Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin has said 13,500 police and anti-terror soldiers had been deployed outside 4,530 churches to protect them against any 'terrorism' as they celebrate Easter.

"Law enforcement forces are present everywhere nationwide from Good Friday to Easter Monday to protect services in an extremely difficult context in which terrorism could hit," Darmanin said.

"There are 13,500 police officers, gendarmes and [anti-terror] military personnel at 4,350 Christian places of worship, Catholic and Protestant," he added.

France has raised its security alert to the highest level after an attack claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group at a concert hall in the Russian capital on 22 March claimed 144 lives.

Foiled attacks

France has been rocked by a series of deadly jihadist attacks in recent years, with two planned attacks having been foiled since the start of the year.

One involved "violent action against a Catholic religious building" by a man "clearly committed to jihadist ideology", according to the national anti-terrorist prosecutor's office.

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