French police arrest teenage terror suspect
FRENCH police have arrested a teenager suspected of planning an attack, investigators said, as Prime Minister Manuel Valls warned that the country faced a threat from 15,000 homegrown radicals.
The 15-year-old was arrested in eastern Paris on September 10 and had been under house arrest since April for suspected links to Islamic extremists.
The police suspect him of plotting “in response to calls from Syria to attack France”, one of the sources said, just days after a separate plot to blow up a car packed with gas cannisters was allegedly foiled in central Paris.
Investigators are looking into calls made by a French member of the Islamic State group, Rachid Kassim, for supporters of the group to strike French targets.
The source said the teenager had been in touch with Kassim using the encrypted messaging app Telegram.
Kassim has been linked to at least one of the two teen jihadists who executed an elderly priest in a Normandy church in July.
Mr Valls said about 15,000 people were known to police in France as having been radicalised, up from a previous estimate of 10,000, adding around 700 jihadists from France were fighting in Syria and Iraq.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said police had arrested 293 people this year for “links to terrorist networks”.
Investigators also believe IS operative Kassim had been in contact with one of the women arrested last week over a car found abandoned near Notre Dame Cathedral, a major tourist draw in central Paris.
The car contained five gas cylinders, three bottles of diesel and a lit cigarette.
Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said the women were acting on orders coming from Syria.
One woman, Ornella G, was remanded in custody on terrorism charges while three other female alleged members of the same cell have also been detained. The three were planning another attack, according to police sources.
One of the women has been linked to one of the priest’s killers as well as to a jihadist who stabbed a police couple to death at their home in a Paris suburb in June. –
Rachid Kassim has called for supporters to strike French targets.