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The 'burkini' covers the entire body apart from the hands, feet, and face MARWAN NAAMANI/AFP/Getty

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has defended French towns which have banned the burkini, describing wearing the full body swimsuit as "not compatible with the values of France and the Republic".

It comes as three more French towns were reportedly poised to ban the burkini, which is worn on beaches by some devout Muslim women. Leucate, Oye-Plage and Le Touguet are expected to join the Riviera resort of Cannes in banning the swimsuit, AFP reported.

Valls said beaches should be free from clothing associated with religion and politics.

"The burkini is not a new range of swimwear, a fashion. It is the expression of a political project, a counter-society, based notably on the enslavement of women," Valls said.

Though he expressed support for councils which have issued the ban, he ruled out a nationwide law prohibiting the burkini. "Overall regulations on proscribing clothes cannot be a solution," he said.

On Saturday, a riot was allegedly sparked in Sisco, Corsica, after tourists took photographs of women wearing burkinis on a local beach. The town's mayor subsequently banned the swimsuit.

The measures follow a series of terror attacks in France claimed by terrorist group Islamic State, provoking debate on radicalisation and the integration of France's four million-strong Muslim population.

The issue of female Islamic clothing has long been contentious is France, with the French Senate approving a bill banning the wearing of Islamic face veils in public in 2010. The move was criticised by rights groups, which said it contravened the right to freedom of worship.