Islamist detainee confirms planned attacks in Paris

30th September 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Sept 29 (AFP) - Plans for various attacks in Paris, from the French intelligence headquarters to the metro and Orly airport, have been confirmed by one of the suspected Islamist militants detained this week in an anti-terror raid, a source close to the investigation said Thursday.

PARIS, Sept 29 (AFP) - Plans for various attacks in Paris, from the French intelligence headquarters to the metro and Orly airport, have been confirmed by one of the suspected Islamist militants detained this week in an anti-terror raid, a source close to the investigation said Thursday.

The proposed attacks first surfaced during the questioning by Algerian authorities of an 34-year-old man, M'Hamed Benyamina, in Algeria earlier this month. The cell could have carried out the attacks "very quickly," the source said.

The information passed on to the French authorities led to the round-up of nine people on Monday in the Paris suburbs and in Normandy, authorized by France's anti-terror judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere.

Six of the suspects remained in detention Thursday and three have been released, including Benyamina's wife, the source said.

At least one of the people detained has confirmed to investigators that the group planned to carry out one or several attacks in Paris.

Orly Airport was a potential target as well as the metro and headquarters of the French intelligence service (DST), where security was beefed up in mid-month based on the information from Algeria.

The six in detention, including the suspected head of the cell, Safe Bourrada, who was convicted of terrorist activity seven years ago, can be held until Friday.

According to French investigators, the group belongs to the the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), the main armed Islamist movement in Algeria with links to al-Qaeda, which has named France as "enemy No.1".

Bourrada was sentenced in 1998 to 10 years in prison for his logistical support for a wave of attacks in France in 1995, including the killing of eight people and injuring of 117 others on the Paris metro. He left prison in 2003.

The president of the French Council for the Muslim Religion (CFCM) Dalil Boubakeur on Thursday expressed concerns, saying he was watching closely "the events cast in the light of a terrorist plan in France," he told AFP during a visit to Cairo.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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