Fears that the Charlie Hebdo terrorists could attempt to flee to Britain after their disappearance led British and French authorities to significantly step up security in the channel ports and Eurostar stations yesterday, Downing Street has announced.
After committing the attack against the office and staff of the French satirical magazine, the perpetrators who have now been named as French nationals Said Kouachi and Cherif Kouachi, fled north. In response, cars and lorries loading onto ships are coming under additional scrutiny, and extra staff have been posted at passport control.
The French army which is now out in force on the streets of major cities has a major presence of the Paris terminal of the Eurostar express service to England, Garde du Nord. A large number of soldiers carrying assault rifles have been seen patrolling the station which as well as being a fast route out of the country is also considered a potential terror target in its own right.
The Daily Telegraph reports the remarks of a Downing Street spokesman who said: “As a British citizen, I want to know that if there is an attack in a neighbouring country, that has port crossings into ours, you would expect the UK authorities to be doing all they can to keep us safe.
“This is based on where we think it is appropriate.
“We will be working with the [intelligence] agencies and doing all we can to prevent any perpetrators or those linked with the attacks to reach the UK. But it is not based on any specific that says that that is likely”.
In addition to the increased army presence to protect ports and railway stations, the French authorities have also boosted security protecting other newspaper and media offices, places of worship, and have established roadblocks to protect them from further acts of terrorism or even revenge.