Police officers patrol at a Christmas market along the Champs-Elysees in Paris, capital of France, on Dec. 20, 2016. French Interior Minister Bruno Le Roux on Monday decided to reinforce security at France's Christmas markets and maintain high vigilance after the Berlin attack which caused scores of casualties. (Xinhua/Chen Yichen)
PARIS, Dec.20 (Xinhua) -- French Interior Minister Bruno Le Roux on Monday decided to reinforce security at France's Christmas markets and maintain high vigilance after the Berlin lorry assault which caused scores of casualties.
"In these circumstances ... securing the Christmas markets was immediately reinforced," Le Roux said in a statement.
He also "called on all forces to keep maximum vigilance and maintain determination to face the barbarism."
On Monday evening, nine people were killed and many others were injured after a truck ploughed into a crowded Christmas market in central Berlin.
The assault is reminiscent of the truck crash in French Rivera city of Nice on July 14 when a 31-year-old delivery man drove his heavy truck into revellers at Bastille Day celebration, killing 86 people. The assault was claimed by the Islamic State.
In a recent interview, Le Roux acknowledged that "the threat is serious," but said: "There will be strengthened protection."
"I want tourists to come to the country in large numbers and I want our fellow citizens to be able to go out and have fun," the newly-appointed minister told French radio RTL earlier this week.
With this aim, he pledged to deploy an additional 3,000 military officers to preserve calm during festive events at the end of the year across the country where a state of emergency has been extended for the fifth time due to a persistent terror alert.
An Odoxa poll released on Dec. 9 showed that 71 percent of French citizens believed terrorist attacks would hit their country during Christmas festivities, and 54 percent of respondents thought the government's anti-terrorism measures were not enough to protect them.
France has become a major target of terrorist attacks following its military operations in Syria, Iraq and the Sahel region of Africa.