France's communities minister has triggered a debate over his claims that there are 100 neighbourhoods in the country comparable to Molenbeek, the Brussels district that spawned many of the jihadists behind recent attacks in Europe.

The minister, Patrick Kanner, had made the comment on Sunday, saying "there are today, we know, around 100 neighbourhoods in France that show similar potential to what happened in Molenbeek."

He claimed the high number of radicalised youths in Molenbeek was linked to "an enormous concentration of poverty and unemployment... a mafia system with an underground economy... where public services have disappeared".

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