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Seven attacks foiled in France in 2017, says minister

AFP , Thursday 6 Jul 2017
French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb
French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb attends a national tribute ceremony for late French politician Simone Veil, Holocaust survivor and pro-abortion campaigner, at the Hotel des Invalides in Paris, France, July 5, 2017 (Photo: Reuters)

Seven terror plots have been foiled in France since the start of the year, Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said Thursday as he argued for a final extension of the country's state of emergency.

"Since the start of the year we've stopped seven plots which could have caused many deaths," Collomb told CNews television channel.

A plot thwarted in the Mediterranean port city of Marseille in April, a week before the presidential election, could have had "dreadful" consequences, he said.

The extension of the state of emergency is expected to be approved later Thursday by the lower house of parliament.

It has been in place since November 2015 after a string of attacks in Paris left 130 people dead.

New President Emmanuel Macron on Monday vowed to end the state of emergency "this autumn" by introducing a new security law which includes many of the emergency measures.

Twelve human rights groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch called on lawmakers on Wednesday to drop the state of emergency and reject the new law.

Collomb said the law would enable the government to shutter mosques where imams are deemed to be condoning terrorism. Closures could be ordered for six months at a time, on a rolling basis.

"Today there are three (mosques) that we want to close... since the start of the state of emergency we've closed 16," he said.

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