France at 'war' with terrorism, not religion: Prime Minister

France at 'war' with terrorism, not religion: Prime Minister
Thousands gather for a vigil in central Paris hours after the attack on the office of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday. It is crucial that societies and governments alike appreciate that diversity is a reality that we cannot ever hope to escape from.

PARIS - 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 civilisation," 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."

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