France foils sus­pected IS plot di­rected from abroad

The Myanmar Times - - World -

FIVE men charged in France with plan­ning an at­tack in the Paris area were di­rected from the Is­lamic State group’s heart­land.

Po­lice ar­rested seven men and seized weapons in raids in the cities of Stras­bourg and Mar­seille ear­lier this month.

Two of the sus­pects were later re­leased but the other five – four French­men and a Moroc­can – were charged and re­manded in cus­tody by an­titer­ror­ism judges on Novem­ber 25, the prose­cu­tor’s of­fice said.

“The break-up of this net­work has pro­tected us against a ma­jor at­tack,” said Pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande.

France has been un­der a state of emer­gency since Jan­uary 2015 when Is­lamist ex­trem­ists car­ried out the first of three large-scale at­tacks that have left 238 peo­ple dead.

Paris Prose­cu­tor Fran­cois Molins said items seized in Stras­bourg in­cluded writ­ten doc­u­ments show­ing “clear al­le­giance” to IS and “glo­ri­fy­ing death and mar­tyr­dom”.

“The Stras­bourg com­mando unit, but also the in­di­vid­ual ar­rested in Mar­seille, were in pos­ses­sion of com­mon in­struc­tions ... sent by a co­or­di­na­tor from the Iraqi-Syr­ian re­gion via en­crypted ap­pli­ca­tions,” he said.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors es­tab­lished that the Stras­bourg cell was plan­ning an at­tack on De­cem­ber 1 on one of a num­ber of pos­si­ble tar­gets, al­though po­lice have so far been “un­able to de­ter­mine the ex­act one”.

A po­lice source said the cell’s mem­bers re­searched “a dozen sites” on­line in­clud­ing the Christ­mas mar­ket on the Champs-El­y­sees, the Dis­ney­land Paris theme park, cafe ter­races in the north­east of the cap­i­tal, the Paris po­lice head­quar­ters and a metro sta­tion.

The sus­pects were “in pos­ses­sion of or in search of weapons and fi­nanc­ing” and were “look­ing for tar­gets”, Mr Molins said.

One of the sus­pects told po­lice that an at­tack was planned, and men­tioned the po­lice head­quar­ters and the in­ter­nal in­tel­li­gence agency DGSI out­side the cap­i­tal. –

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