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Migrant crisis prompts France to send military to Italian border – media

Europe 1 radio station reported that Paris is planning to deploy the elite Alpine Hunters regiment to its eastern frontier

FILE PHOTO. A French police officer patrols at the French-Italian border in Menton. ©  BORIS HORVAT / AFP

France is reportedly deploying troops to its border with Italy in response to a recent surge in migrant arrivals in the neighboring nation, according to Europe 1 radio station. Italian media sources have additionally noted the presence of a French helicopter patrolling the frontier region and the sighting of a special police anti-terrorism unit in the area.

In its report on Tuesday, Europe 1 claimed that troops from the elite Alpine Hunters regiment will be deployed to patrol the mountains in the Roya Valley. Additionally, 60 police reservists will be called up to reinforce the security forces already present in the area, the media outlet reported without disclosing its sources.

The radio station claimed that the Alpes-Maritimes department has put forth a request to establish an extra holding facility that can accommodate up to 100 detained migrants temporarily. Additionally, the French General Directorate for Internal Security is said to be dispatching its personnel to conduct interviews with individuals caught attempting illegal border crossings. Europe 1 suggested that this measure is primarily intended to prevent the entry of potential terrorists into France.

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In an interview with Europe 1 on the same day, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said that Paris wants to “help Italy to secure its borders,” adding that 60% of migrants arriving in the country are not eligible for asylum. “We have to protect the EU’s external borders,” the official argued, calling for the swift deportation of migrants whose requests have been rejected.

Several Italian media outlets, including La Stampa newspaper, also reported on Tuesday that a French helicopter, “which apparently belongs to the Transalpine Customs,” had been seen patrolling the area along the border. Moreover, anti-terrorism units had also been sighted there, the outlets claimed. La Stampa also confirmed the arrival of about 50 troops from the Alpine Hunters regiment and six vehicles at the frontier.

Last week, Germany’s Die Welt newspaper, citing German Interior Ministry representatives, claimed that the country had temporarily suspended admitting migrants arriving via Italy. According to the report, officials attributed the decision, which allegedly took effect in late August, to “high migrant pressure” and Rome’s refusal to honor the EU-wide migrant redistribution agreement.

The Italian Interior Ministry disclosed last month that a staggering 89,158 illegal immigrants had successfully crossed the Mediterranean Sea since the beginning of this year, marking a significant 115% surge compared to the same period in 2022. In April, Rome declared a state of emergency in response to this mounting influx of new arrivals.

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