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France On Alert After London Bombings 


Dominique de Villepin
France has raised its national alert level from orange to red, following terrorist bombings in London. French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin held an emergency meeting with his cabinet.

In televised remarks, Prime Minister de Villepin expressed France's solidarity, support, and friendship toward Britain following, what he termed, "those odious acts."

More than ever, the French Prime Minister said, democracies must pull together and show unity in the face of the threat of terrorism. More than ever, we need to be vigilant and determined, Mr. de Villepin said.

The French Prime Minister spoke just hours after deadly explosions rocked London. Mr. de Villepin said he had just held an emergency meeting with France's interior, defense, and foreign ministers, along with heads of the country's intelligence services.

The country has raised its emergency alert from orange to red, in fear of a terrorist threat. And Mr. de Villepin said he had asked his ministers to provide ways to beef up security around France's vulnerable sites. That presumably includes around France's nuclear power plants.

France is no stranger to terrorist attacks. Islamist terrorists launched bombing attacks in the Paris metro system in 1995, killing eight people and injuring more than 200. Following the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States, French police rounded up dozens of terrorist suspects.

Police foiled at least two major bombing plots - one to blow up the American Embassy in Paris in 2001, and another to bomb a market in the eastern French town of Strasbourg in 2000.

Last year, two shadowy groups threatened to attack French interests and security services are also on alert against suspected Islamists in France who have joined - or want to join - the insurgency in Iraq.

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