Thwarted France attackers planned December strike on Paris | News | DW | 24.11.2016
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Thwarted France attackers planned December strike on Paris

Suspects arrested last week in an anti-terror raid had planned to attack Paris on December 1, police sources said. The suspects had researched the Champs-Elysees Christmas market and Disneyland Paris among other sites.

French police sources said on Thursday that several suspects arrested last week in anti-terror raids were planning to launch attacks in and around the nation's capital on December 1.

Seven suspects were arrested last weekend in the eastern French cities of Strasbourg and Marseille following an eight-month investigation, although two were later released. The remaining five suspects' custody was extended under legislation covering investigations into imminent terror attacks.

One of the suspects told investigators that attacks were planned, and named the police crime-investigation headquarters at the Quai des Orfevres and France's DGSI domestic security department as targets.

Investigators also found that the group conducted online research of the Christmas market on the Champs-Elysees avenue and the Disneyland Paris theme park outside the city. They also researched several cafe terraces in the northeast of the capital.

Some of the members are believed to have taken orders from a jihadist based in Syria. Police uncovered two handguns, an automatic pistol, a submachine gun and jihadist propaganda during the raids.

France has been under a state of emergency since a wave of attacks in the country last year, giving police wider powers. Over 230 people have been killed in extremist attacks in France since the beginning of 2015.

In January of 2015, gunmen targeted the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine as well as a Jewish supermarket.

In November last year, members who pledged allegiance to the militant "Islamic State" group carried out a series of coordinated attacks on the Bataclan concert hall, France's national stadium as well as bars and restaurants in eastern Paris. A total of 130 people died in the attacks.

This past July, a self-radicalized extremist drove a truck through crowds watching Bastille Day fireworks in the southern French city of Nice, killing 86.

rs/kl (AFP, Reuters)

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