French President Francois Hollande has urged calm amid a rise in jihadist attacks across the country, blaming a new wave of “lone wolf” attacks on a “parallel society” and an “enormous responsibility” on French society.
Speaking to a group of French citizens at the end of his week-long state visit, Hollande said that attacks such as the recent ones in Paris and Brussels have been driven by “a parallel society” that has become “increasingly unstable”.
“This situation is the result of the fact that the French state has failed to protect the French citizens,” he said, adding that the country had to “fight” this “paradox”.
He said that France was facing a new threat, which he called “a new wave” of attacks.
“I would like to repeat that I condemn in the strongest terms these terrorist attacks,” Hollande said.
“France is under attack.
We have to fight it together.”
Hollande’s comments come as the country’s police chief said that the recent string of attacks were not linked to radical Islamist ideology.
Police Commissioner Christophe Castaner told France 2 radio that the attack on the Bataclan concert hall and the shooting of five soldiers in a military barracks in Nice were not connected to Islamic State militants.
“This is a new and complex threat,” he told the radio station.
“The same threat exists, this is a different one.
I cannot give any indication to how this threat has developed, but it is a threat that is now present in France and in Europe.”
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said last week that a French intelligence official had told him that the “parasites” behind the Paris and Nice attacks were “anonymous”.
“They are not connected, they are not linked,” Cazaneuve said.
The Interior Minister’s remarks have prompted criticism from the left-wing opposition and right-wing politicians.
Former Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Wednesday called on Hollande to take “strong action” against the “virus” of terrorism, calling it “a plague” and “a disease” that threatens “our civilisation”.
The left-leaning leader, who is expected to run in the presidential election next year, said the “terrorist threat” is “deeply felt” in France, and he called for the president to act.
“The President needs to take decisive action, because we are facing a virus,” Valls said in a statement.
“It is a plague and a disease that has infected France, it has infiltrated France and it threatens the whole continent.”