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With Toughest Counter-Terrorism Laws on the Books, French Add Restrictions

Just ahead of France’s presidential and legislative elections, the conservative French government Wednesday unveiled new counter-terrorism measures intended to restrain visits to extremist websites and travel to weapons-training camps abroad.

The new measures will be presented to Parliament in the coming days, and may face resistance from the Socialists, who suggest France already has enough counter-terrorism laws on the books, and accuse the government of using the new proposal to boost President Nicolas Sarkozy’s stance at the polls.

French Justice Minister Michel Mercier admitted that France’s laws against terrorism are among the toughest in the western world, but says they can always be improved, particularly in order to enable Police to identify and track down “lone wolf” terrorists.

“There are not just networks, there are also terrorists who act alone, who train by themselves,” Mercier told reporters. “So we’re reinforcing our legislation.”

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