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Castex says France will continue to 'relentlessly' fight 'radical Islamism'

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By Euronews
Jean Castex posthumously awards the victims of a knife attack during a ceremony in Nice, southern France, Saturday Nov. 7, 2020.
Jean Castex posthumously awards the victims of a knife attack during a ceremony in Nice, southern France, Saturday Nov. 7, 2020.   -   Copyright  Valery Hache; Pool via AP
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French Prime Minister Jean Castex said France will "relentlessly" fight the "enemy [of] radical Islamism" during a tribute to the three victims killed in a terrorist attack in Nice last month.

Castex was honouring the two women and one man who were killed inside the city's basilica, alongside the mayor of Nice and former President Nicolas Sarkozy.

"Terrorism attacks who we are, what makes our identity, our freedom, our culture, and finally our lives. The enemy, we know what it is, not only is it identified, but it has a name," Castex said at the tribute.

"It is radical Islamism, a political ideology that disfigures the Muslim religion by distorting its texts, its dogmas and its commandments to impose its dominance by ignorance and hate, an enemy that benefits from support overseas but, alas, also counts French citizens in its ranks," he said.

"An enemy that the government of the Republic fights relentlessly by giving itself the necessary means and by mobilising all of its forces on a daily basis," Castex added.

France has recently stepped up its efforts to combat terrorism after a string of attacks including a stabbing outside the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo and a teacher's beheading.

Some of the attacks appeared to be linked to the publication of cartoons mocking the prophet of Islam, which some found deeply offensive.

In a recent interview with Al Jazeera, President Emmanuel Macron said he understood the feelings of Muslims who are offended by the cartoons, but that did not justify physical violence. Macron has defended freedom of expression and the support of secularism.

France has heightened security nationwide, including raising its terror alert to its highest level, after the Nice attack.

Macron has said he would increase the number of soldiers deployed to protect French schools and religious sites from around 3,000 to 7,000.

The tribute also comes days after an attack in Vienna, where a gunman killed four people and injured 22 in a terror attack.