Miami (AFP) - Donald Trump responded to the murder of an elderly French priest, the latest in a string of jihadist attacks to rock the country, by saying Wednesday that "France is no longer France."
During a news conference in Florida, the Republican presidential nominee brought up the attack on a church in Normandy, and said a friend who recently visited the country told him: "I wouldn't go to France. I wouldn't go to France. France is no longer France."
"They won't like me for saying that," Trump added, "but you see what happened in Nice. You see what happened yesterday with the priest, who is supposed to be a spectacular man. France is no longer France."
Both the truck attack July 14 in Nice that claimed 84 lives and the attack on the French church, in which two attackers slit the throat of 86-year-old priest Jacques Hamel, have been claimed by the jihadist Islamic State group.
Trump sought to link the violence caused by IS to immigration from the Middle East.
"It's only going to get worse," the billionaire real estate mogul said.
"Hillary Clinton wants to allow 550 percent more people from that region into our country, and we have no idea who they are, where they come from, where their documentation is. It's only going to get worse."
The Democratic nominee Clinton said on CBS last September that she would favor raising the number of Syrian refugees admitted from the 10,000 planned by President Barack Obama to 65,000 — a 550 percent increase — but said she would emphasize "persecuted religious minorities" and would ensure "rigorous vetting."
Trump, who at one point called for a temporary ban on Muslims coming to the United States, has said he would be far tougher in dealing with IS.
"We have to get them and get them fast. This world better be very careful and better get very tough and very smart, and they'll never do it with Hillary Clinton."