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French policeman attacked by mob in critical condition

A young French police officer attacked by a group of youngsters is in life-threatening condition, officials have said. Prime Minister Valls vowed to bring the culprits to justice, condemning the assault as "unspeakable."

The 28-year-old male officer suffered "very serious burns on the hands and the entire body," prosecutor Eric Lallement said on Sunday.

Four officers were wounded a day earlier, when a group of at least 15 youths attacked their vehicles with Molotov cocktails in the town of Viry-Chatillon to the south of Paris.

The officer is currently in an induced coma, while doctors wait for his recovery.

His 39-year-old female partner was also severely burnt, while the other two officers received minor injuries.

"We believe that it was organized and premeditated," Jean-Marc Falcone, director of the national police, said of the attack.

French authorities say the police are being increasingly attacked by jihadists, mobsters and hooded youths.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Saturday the culprits would be "relentlessly pursued and brought to justice."

"At a time when the security forces are bravely responding to (terrorist) threats facing our country, such intolerable acts call for exemplary sanctions," the PM said.

Security cameras have been installed and surveillance has been stepped up in recent months to contain widespread illegal drug dealing in the area. There had been previous attempts to destroy the cameras in recent weeks.

"The team in the police car was responsible for monitoring a video camera near the traffic lights at Viry-Chatillon," police told Le Parisien newspaper. "Dozens of people attacked them with Molotov cocktails."

shs/rc  (AFP, Reuters)