France steps up security measures after dynamite find
One day after five sticks of dynamite were planted in a large Paris department store, French Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie on Wednesday announced a series of measures intended to increase public security, dpa reported.
Parking regulations will be made stricter around department stores and airports, and customers in large stores and passengers at airports could be searched more often, Alliot-Marie said.
In addition, more police officers will be deployed in Paris and other large cities, with about 2,200 more police in the streets than usual over the Christmas period, she said.
Alliot-Marie also said that the investigation into who had planted the dynamite in the Printemps department store on the posh Boulevard Haussmann on Tuesday was progressing swiftly.
"All the trails are open," she said, "but some are less credible than others."
Earlier Wednesday, Defence Minister Herve Morin said that an examination of the letter in which a group calling itself the Revolutionary Front for Afghanistan claimed to have planted the dynamite seemed to exclude that Islamic terrorists were responsible.
Morin told RTL radio that the use of the words "revolutionary" and "capitalist" and the absence of any religious phrases in the letter suggested other possibilities, such as political extremists.
The writer of the letter threatened to plant more bombs unless France pulled its troops out of Afghanistan. There are currently some 3,400 French troops involved in the regional conflict against the Taliban, 2,800 of them stationed in Afghanistan.
The five sticks of dynamite were not connected and lacked a fuse, and could therefore not be detonated. Alliot-Marie said the dynamite was old and could be found on many construction sites.