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France launches enquiry into failings around terror attacks

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Photo: AFP
08:15 CET+01:00
French lawmakers have formed a commission of enquiry into possible security failings over two major terror attacks in Paris in 2015 that left 147 people dead, a deputy said Thursday.

The commission, which was formed at the request of the conservative opposition Republicans party, held its first meeting on Tuesday, according to one of its members who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The probe will examine "the resources put in place by the state to fight terrorism since January 7, 2015", the lawmaker said.

That is the date of an attack on the Charlie Hebdo satirical weekly i Paris, which was followed two days later by a hostage drama at a Jewish supermarket. A total of 17 people were killed in three days in the coordinated attacks.

The rest of the year was marked by sporadic attacks and foiled plots in the name of the Islamic State group, culminating in the slaughter of 130 people on November 13 as gunmen and suicide bombers attacked Parisian nightspots.

Four days after that attack the Republicans' parliamentary leader called for the enquiry "so that the French people will know the whole truth about the conditions in which these attacks could have happened".

The Republicans party has fiercely criticised the response of President Francois Hollande's Socialist government's response to the attacks.

"Were all the lessons learned from the January attacks? The answer is no, too much time has been wasted," party leader and former president Nicolas Sarkozy said after the November bloodshed.

The commission will probe how the attacks  could have been carried out by many jihadists who were known to anti-terrorist police.

"Of course we will try to understand how this was possible, to avoid it happening again," said the commission member.

The commission is made up of 30 members of parliament and will be presided over by Georges Fenech, a former investigating judge.

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It can call anyone to testify under oath, but could be limited by classified information and professional confidentiality.

The first hearings will take place on Monday, with representatives of victims' associations appearing.

The body will hold three hearings a week, and is expected to make its findings public on July 16.

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