French police find bomb-making materials
FRENCH POLICE discovered bomb-making materials and weapons yesterday as the investigation continued into a group of suspected Islamist radicals arrested at the weekend.
Twelve people, all under 30, who were arrested on Saturday on suspicion of belonging to an Islamist network, had their terms of detention extended yesterday after chemicals used to make explosives were found at a garage belonging to one of them in a Paris suburb, prosecutor François Molins said.
The weekend raids were linked to a grenade attack on a kosher supermarket near Paris last month – one of a series of apparently anti-Semitic attacks that have raised fears in France’s Jewish community and prompted increased security at synagogues.
A 33-year-old man was shot dead by police during one of the raids, in Strasbourg on Saturday. Police said they found a list of Jewish groups at the home of one of the suspects, while the garage in Torcy contained a shotgun, a revolver, potassium nitrate, sulphur and a pressure cooker.
“These are all products used to make what we call improvised explosives,” Mr Molins said. “We are clearly confronted with an extremely dangerous terror network.”
Tensions have been running high in the Jewish community over a series of recent incidents, including death threats against the chief rabbi of Lyon and an attack with a hammer and iron bars on three young Jewish men.
Last Saturday evening, blank bullets were fired from a car at a synagogue in the Paris suburb of Argenteuil while worshippers were inside.
In the worst such violence, three children and a rabbi were shot dead in March outside a Jewish school in the southern city of Toulouse by a radical Islamist inspired by al-Qaeda. The gunman also killed three soldiers in a 10-day rampage.
After meeting representatives of France’s Jewish and Muslim communities at the weekend, President François Hollande pledged to increase security at synagogues and enact tougher anti-terrorism laws.