Wall Street Journal
Photos: Israel Bardugo
PARIS—France dispatched thousands of police and troops to protect synagogues and Jewish schools and pledged to strengthen counterterrorism measures, as the government on Monday warned of more threats following last week’s deadly violence.
Security forces remained on the highest state of alert as the investigation continued into three attacks over three days that left 17 people dead, sending shock waves around the world.
Investigators are looking into the possibility that one of the gunmen killed last week, Amedy Coulibaly, was initially targeting a Jewish school south of Paris before he shot and killed a policewoman nearby, according to Paris prosecutors. Authorities are also hunting for anyone who may have assisted Mr. Coulibaly or the other suspects, brothers Said and Chérif Kouachi.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said 4,700 police officers and gendarmes will protect possible targets of anti-Semitic attacks. Up to 10,000 soldiers are also being deployed around France and are available to help secure Jewish schools and synagogues.
The increased security was highly visible in Sarcelles, a surbub north of Paris that is home to over 10,000 Jews including Yohan Cohen, one of the victims of the supermarket attack.
Two heavily armed police guards patrolled in front of the Grand Synagogue de Sarcelles, while four vans filled with more police were parked nearby. Another van with guards was parked near the Les Flanades mall, which is home to many Jewish businesses.
“We need the police, but their presence makes me even more worried. Anytime there are police on the streets like this, it means that something’s wrong,” said Laurent Berros, the rabbi at the grand synagogue. “We are under constant threat.”
South of Paris, police guarded the Yaguel Yaacov school, located just a couple blocks from where the policewoman, Clarissa Jean-Philippe, was killed on Thursday. Private security guards checked the identification of people as they approached the building.
The nursery and elementary school, founded in 1991, has 230 children enrolled, but many were absent on Monday, said school director Catherine Hacoun.
“Even if we know that the government is doing everything they can to protect us, we are very worried and the children are traumatized,” she said.