France's President Emmanuel Macron vowed on Thursday to shore up border control measures and crackdown on illegal immigration as part of the country's overall strategy to combat the ascending "terrorist threat."
"We see very clearly that terrorist actions can actually be led by some people who use migratory flows to threaten our territory," he said during a visit to the border with adjoining Spain. "So, we must reinforce our controls for reasons of national security."
The number of border police will be increased from 2,400 to 4,800.
The stern comments come just days after an Islamic jihadist killed three churchgoers in a horrific knife assault – in which one victim was decapitated – at the Notre Dame Basilica in the city of Nice late last week. The alleged perpetrator, identified as 21-year-old Tunisian Ibrahim Issaoui, is believed to have moved illicitly through Italy in September and into France.
He remains in a French hospital after being wounded by French authorities during his apprehension.
In the aftermath, France raised its security alert to its maximum on Oct 29. However, Macron also projected deeper concerns for the fragility of Europe.
Macron's pledge to tighten immigration and stamp out terrorism also come at a time when some in the Muslim world have condemned him for allowing satirical cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad and of Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The Turkish leader who joined calls this week to boycott French products in response to Macron's statement that Islam was a religion "in crisis" globally, stating that the French president needed mental treatment over his views on Islam.
"Attacks in France, in Austria a few days ago in Vienna, show us that the terrorist risk is everywhere, that (terrorist) networks are global, which forces Europe to intensify its response," he continued, adding that Paris will present its security proposal at a European summit next month.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the deadly shooting in the Austrian capital on Monday, which left at least five people dead and another 17 injured.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.