PARIS: French Prime Minister Manuel Valls defended the security forces Wednesday after the first deadly jihadist attack on the nation’s soil since the Paris massacres last November. President Francois Hollande joined a minute’s silence at the interior ministry for the two victims of Monday’s assault in which a knife-wielding convicted extremist who had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group killed a police officer and his partner at their home. The minute’s silence was also observed at police stations nationwide, and flags at the interior ministry were to remain at half-mast for three days. Hollande will preside over a memorial ceremony at the Versailles police headquarters on Friday, according to his office. Valls rejected criticism that the authorities could have thwarted the assault.