French President Francois Hollande on Thursday confirmed that a National Guard would be formed from existing reserve forces to better protect citizens amid a spate of terror attacks.
Hollande said parliamentary consultations on the formation of the force would take place in September, “so that this force can be created as fast as possible to protect the French.”
The revelation came two days after a priest was slain in a church in Normandy by two men who had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group. The attackers took hostages at the church, in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, in France’s northwest region of Normandy, during morning Mass. After the priest was slain, both attackers, at least one of them a local man, were killed by police outside the church.
In response to the attack, Hollande vowed to wage war against the jihadist group “by every means.”
France remains on high alert after Tunisian Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel plowed a truck into a crowd of people celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, killing 84 and injuring over 300.
The July 14 massacre was the third major terror attack in France in little more than 18 months.
The string of bloody incidents has left the country jittery, and stoked political finger-pointing, with conservative politicians accusing the ruling Socialists of being weak or incompetent on security.