PARIS (AP) – France ordered prosecutors around the country to crack down on hate speech, anti-Semitism and those glorifying terrorism and announced it was sending an aircraft carrier to the Middle East to work more closely with the US-led coalition figh-ting Islamic State militants.
Authorities said 54 people had been arres-ted for hate speech and defending terrorism since terror attacks killed 20 people in Paris last week, including three gunmen. The crack-down came as Charlie Hebdo’s defiant new issue sold out before dawn around Paris, with scuffles at kiosks over dwindling copies of the satirical weekly.
President Francois Hollande, speaking aboard the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier to members of the military, said the situation “justifies the presence of our aircraft carrier”.
One of the Paris gunmen had claimed al-legiance to the Islamic State group, while two others said they were backed by Yemen’s al-Qaeda branch. France is already carrying out airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Iraq.
A top leader of Yemen’s al-Qaeda branch claimed responsibility Wednesday for the Charlie Hebdo massacre that left 12 dead at the paper, saying in a video the massacre came in “vengeance for the prophet”. The newspaper had received repeated threats previously for posting caricatures.