Seven held as bomb factory is discovered
French police have foiled a plot that could have resulted in the biggest bomb attack since an Algerian Islamist group killed eight people and injured close to 100 on a Paris subway train in the 1990s.
Forensics experts believe that bomb-making material discovered in a garage east of Paris was sufficient to make an explosive device like the one planted on a packed Paris train in 1995, prosecutor François Molins said.
He was speaking yesterday, four days into an investigation in which police have quizzed 12 people who were rounded up in raids last Saturday. Another suspect was shot dead after he fired at police with a revolver.
Mr Molins said the police operation had dismantled what he called “a terrorist group that is probably the most dangerous [seen in France] since 1996”.
Seven of the 12 were being placed on suspicion of terrorist activity, while five others taken into custody at the weekend were being released, Mr Molins told a news conference.
Police moved in on the suspects after a late-September attack on a kosher food shop north of Paris. Mr Molins said that attack, using what he described as an M75 grenade of the kind made in the former Yugoslavia, was intended to kill, even if nobody died.
Follow-up surveillance of the suspects triggered last Saturday’s police raids in the southern city of Cannes, in Strasbourg in eastern France and in Torcy, a suburb east of Paris where the police found a garage packed with bomb-making materials.
Along with a shotgun, rifle, 800 bullet rounds and cash, police found a large quantity of potassium nitrate, sulphur, five metres of cable, alarm clocks, headlamp bulbs and a pressure cooker that could serve as a bomb casing.
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