France set to hunt Muslim extremists in UK: book

31st May 2006, Comments 0 comments

LONDON, May 30, 2006 (AFP) - The French secret service discussed kidnapping firebrand Muslim preacher Abu Hamza from London to prevent a terrorist attack on the 1998 World Cup, a new book serialised in The Times claimed Wednesday.

LONDON, May 30, 2006 (AFP) - The French secret service discussed kidnapping firebrand Muslim preacher Abu Hamza from London to prevent a terrorist attack on the 1998 World Cup, a new book serialised in The Times claimed Wednesday.

The plan, which was not at an advanced stage, reportedly involved snatching the Egyptian-born cleric off the street, bundling him into a van and driving at high-speed to a French-flagged cross-Channel ferry.

"Once we got one of his feet on board that would be it," a man named only as Jerome, from the French embassy in London, was quoted as saying.

The book — 'The Suicide Factory: Abu Hamza and the Finsbury Park Mosque' — said Paris was concerned about a possible terrorist attack, particularly from extremist Algerian groups, as they prepared to host the tournament.

But politicians, from then-interior minister Jean-Pierre Chevènement to the intelligence agency the General Directorate of External Security (DGSE), were concerned about Britain's attitude to terror suspects.

Jerome is said to have spoken angrily about London's apparent "Faustian pact" with extremist Islamic groups in London, allowing preaching, organisation and propaganda as long as there was no attack on British soil.

A named DGSE operative said to have infiltrated the mosque was quoted as saying: "Jerome would complain that Scotland Yard was sympathetic to Abu Hamza. They would say, 'They are doing nothing wrong, we cannot arrest them for anything'.

"But the French believed that this plot to attack the World Cup was real, that it was being drawn up in London and that Finsbury Park mosque was the capital of 'Londonistan'.

"The names of many suspects were passed to the British — veteran terrorists arriving from around the world — but the British did nothing.

"They did not take it seriously, even when the French said that if anything were to happen they would declare publicly that they held the British responsible."

Extracts from the book said Hamza — who was jailed for seven years by a British court in February this year for inciting racial hatred and soliciting murder — was questioned by French authorities.

But he was said to have had no information about their subject: Christophe Caze, a Muslim convert and Bosnian war veteran who was killed in a shootout with French police in Roubaix in 1996 before a planned attack on a G7 summit.

Hamza is currently serving his sentence in Britain but is wanted in the United States.

'Shoebomber' Richard Reid and Zacarias Moussaoui, the only man to be convicted of the September 11 attacks in the United States are among a number of Islamic extremists known to have frequented the Finsbury Park mosque.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article