PARIS: French President Francois Hollande called on Monday to amend the country’s constitution to fight potential terrorists at home and for an aggressive effort to “eradicate” the Islamic State abroad.
His call to arms — “France is at war,” he said at the opening of his remarks to a joint session of the parliament — came as security forces in France and Belgium zeroed in on a suspect they said was the architect of the assault that killed 129 people Friday night in Paris. The suspect, a 27-year-old Belgian, has fought for the Islamic State in Syria and has been linked to other terrorist attacks.
Hollande spoke after the French police raided homes and other sites across the country in an effort to head off possible further attacks and the authorities in Belgium hunted for a suspected assailant in Friday’s attacks.
Hollande called for quick action by the parliament on new legislation that would give the government more flexibility to conduct police raids without a warrant and place people under house arrest. He said he would seek court advice on broader surveillance powers. And he called for constitutional amendments that would enable the state to take exceptional security measures without having to resort to the most drastic options currently in the constitution.