Europe

French National Front official sacked for 'Holocaust denial'

Marine Le Pen during a campaign rally in France Image copyright AFP
Image caption National Front leader, Marine Le Pen, is expected to do well in the presidential elections

France's far-right National Front (FN) party has suspended one of its officials after a film emerged of him denying the extent of the Holocaust.

Benoit Loeuillet, a top FN official in the city of Nice, said that there were no "mass murders" during the Holocaust.

The FN chief in southern France called his comments "unacceptable" and said he had been suspended immediately.

Mr Loeuillet says his words were distorted by editing and he has asked his lawyer to sue for libel.

In a statement, he said he has, in no way, denied "the reality of the Holocaust".

FN leader Marine Le Pen is expected to do well in the first round of voting in April's presidential election, but observers suggest she is likely to lose in May's second round.

Image copyright Facebook/BenoitLoeuillet
Image caption Mr Loeuillet said the video clip was misleading

The clip of Mr Loeuillet is part of a documentary on the National Front, which is set to air on Wednesday.

In it, he is secretly filmed discussing the Holocaust, and saying "I don't think there were that many deaths. There weren't six million."

"There weren't mass murders as it's been said," he adds.

The FN leader in southern France, Marion Marechal-Le Pen, who is Ms Le Pen's niece, tweeted (in French) that Mr Loeuillet had never made such remarks in front of her, and was no longer a member of the party.

About six million people were killed during the Holocaust, the Nazis' systematic attempt to exterminate the Jewish people during World War Two.

The Nazi government also targeted and killed millions of other people, including Roma gypsies, disabled people and imprisoned homosexuals.

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