Eiffel Tower was a target, says Islamic activist

16th February 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 16 (AFP) - A suspected Islamic militant in French custody has told investigators that radicals were planning attacks in 2002 on Paris targets including the Eiffel Tower, sources close to the investigation said Wednesday.

PARIS, Feb 16 (AFP) - A suspected Islamic militant in French custody has told investigators that radicals were planning attacks in 2002 on Paris targets including the Eiffel Tower, sources close to the investigation said Wednesday.

Maamar Ouazane, one of three Algerian nationals arrested in France last month and later placed under judicial investigation, told police that the Eiffel Tower was one of several possible targets.

Ouazane, 22, also listed Israeli interests in the French capital, police stations and a major clothing retailer in the downtown Les Halles shopping complex as possible targets, the sources said.

France set up an inquiry in November 2002 to investigate groups suspected of recruiting fighters to take part in the war in Chechnya between separatist rebels and the Russian army.

In the course of that investigation, police uncovered an underground group apparently composed of Islamic radicals in a Paris suburb. Authorities believe members of that group, including Ouazane, were planning attacks on French soil.

More than 20 suspected Islamic militants are currently in French custody and under formal investigation - the step that precedes the filing of charges in France - for conspiracy in relation to a terrorist enterprise.

Ouazane reportedly told investigators that he distanced himself from the so-called "Chechen network" when he learned of their plans to strike in Paris and voiced his disapproval, sources close to the probe said.

He allegedly overheard several conversations about possible attacks, relaying details to police about the colour of the products to be used in either a classic or chemical attack, without remembering specific names, sources said.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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