France plans to keep 10,000 troops on the streets across the country following the recent terrorist attacks that claimed 17 lives and shocked the nation in January.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the office of President Francois Hollande described as “high” the threat of terrorist attack against France.
The statement, which was released after a special meeting of top ministers, added that the French head of state had decided to keep the level of the army “on the national territory at 10,000 troops in support of security forces from the Interior Ministry.”
Based on the decision, 7,000 of soldiers will be sent primarily for “surveillance and protection at religious sites that are particularly threatened.”
According to French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, the troops are due to remain deployed at least “until the beginning of the summer.”
On January 7, the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine were attacked by al-Qaeda affiliated terrorists who left 12 people dead.
On January 9, police ended a hostage-taking at a supermarket in the eastern Porte de Vincennes area of Paris, killing an armed hostage-taker identified as Amedy Coulibaly, who was also a suspect in the killing of a policewoman in southern Paris a day earlier. Coulibaly killed four hostages before his death.
France deployed 10,000 troops to protect sensitive sites in the wake of the deadly Paris attacks.
Soldiers have been also watching stations, media buildings and other potential targets since the terror assaults.
About 1,400 people, including entire families, have reportedly left France to join the ranks of the Takfiri groups in Syria and Iraq, of whom many have returned.