France is at “war” with terrorism, but not religion, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Friday as police cornered two suspected Islamist gunmen near Paris.
“We are in a war against terrorism. We are not in a war against religion, against a civilization,” Valls said.
The country has been left reeling after the massacre Wednesday of 12 people at a satirical weekly magazine by two brothers shouting Islamist slogans.
And as a dramatic manhunt saw police corner the suspects in the small town of Dammartin-en-Goele north of Paris, Valls said it would “certainly be necessary to take new measures” to response to extremist threats.
He said that current policies had resulted in five attacks being foiled since August 2013.
“We knew we could be hit,” he said, adding he had no doubt the French would emerge stronger from the incident.
“What are terrorists looking for? To create fear, to pit the French against each other — and we must be stronger than that.”
Earlier, French President Francois Hollande described “unity” as his country’s “best weapon.”
“Nothing can divide us, nothing should sepaarate us. Freedom will always be stronger than barbarity,” Hollande said in a televised address to the nation on Thursday after the attack.