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French terror suspect ‘targeted Sydney bases’

SYDNEY, Feb 6 (AFP) – A suspected terrorist deported from Australia to France last year was sent to Sydney by Pakistani militants to attack military sites here, a senior French intelligence officer was quoted as saying Friday.

Jean-Francois Clair, deputy director of France’s DST counter-terrorism office, told the Nine Network’s Sunday programme the suspect, Willie Brigitte, was working with an Australian-based Pakistani believed to be part of the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Toiba.

The Nine Network said in a statement that the program due to air Sunday would name the Pakistani, who it said used the internet to view the layout of army bases and attempted to obtain chemical ingredients for explosives.

The program cites the DST dossier compiled on Brigitte since he was deported from Australia in October and jailed in a Paris area prison.

“French terror suspect Willie Brigitte was sent to Australia by a Pakistani terrorist organisation and was in the process of considering which military targets the group would attack,” the network said.

Lashkar-e-Toiba, or Army of the Pure, is active in the Indian states of Kashmir and Jammu.

Brigitte told his French interrogators that his handlers asked him to meet a Chechen explosives expert in Sydney, but the encounter never occurred, the DST was quoted as saying.

It said Brigitte, who was in Australia for five months before being deported, was part of a group of fewer than six people in Sydney which included his Pakistani contact.

Brigitte was arrested for visa violations after French authorities informed Australia of his alleged links to the al-Qaeda network, with whom he reportedly trained in Afghanistan.

During his stay in Australia, Brigitte married a Sydney woman, Melanie Brown, who was a former member of the Australian Army Signal Corps.

Press reports on Thursday quoted French investigators as saying Brown told them during a visit to Paris last month that Brigitte had notably quizzed her about a top secret US spy base, Pine Gap, located in central Australia.

Brown later denied the couple spoke about Pine Gap.

Australian authorities have alleged that Brigitte was plotting some kind of terrorist attack in the country, but they have never revealed his suspected targets.


                                                              Subject: France news