- Associated Press - Thursday, January 7, 2016

PARIS (AP) — French President Francois Hollande says what he calls a “terrorist threat” will continue to weigh on the country, which was struck a year ago by Islamic extremists.

On Jan. 7, 2015, two French-born brothers killed 11 people inside the building where the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo operated, as well as a Muslim policeman outside. Over the next two days, an accomplice shot a policewoman to death and then stormed a kosher supermarket, killing four hostages. All three gunmen died.

In a speech to police forces charged with protecting the country against new attacks, Hollande said the government was passing new laws and ramping up security, but the threat remained high.

Hollande especially called for better surveillance of “radicalized” citizens who have joined Islamic State or other militant groups in Syria and Iraq when they return to France.

“We must be able to force these people — and only these people — to fulfill certain obligations and if necessary to put them under house arrest … because they are dangerous,” he said.

Three police officers were among the 17 dead in the attacks last January, which ended after two days of bloodshed in the Paris region.

Hollande said officers die in the line of duty “so that we can live free.”

Following the January attacks, the government announced it planned to give police better equipment and to hire more intelligence agents.

France has been on high alert ever since, and was struck again Nov. 13 by extremists dispatched by the Islamic State group.

Survivors of the January attacks, meanwhile, are continuing to speak out.

Cartoonist Laurent Sourisseau, the editor-in-chief of Charlie Hebdo who is known as Riss, told France Inter radio “security is a new expense for the newspaper budget.”

“This past year we’ve had to invest nearly 2 million euros to secure our office, which is an enormous sum,” he said. “We have to spend hundreds of thousands on surveillance of our offices, which wasn’t previously in Charlie’s budget, but we had an obligation so that employees feel safe and can work safely.”

After the attacks, people around the world embraced the expression “Je suis Charlie” to express solidarity with the slain journalists, targeted for the paper’s caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.

“It’s a phrase that was used during the march as a sign of emotion or resistance to terrorism,” Charlie Hebdo cartoonist Corinne Rey — known as Coco — told France Inter radio. “And little by little, I realized that ‘I am Charlie‘ was misused for so many things. And now I don’t really know what it means.”

France remains under a state of emergency after the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris that killed 130 people.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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