Seven Frenchmen arrested as part of a weekend swoop on a suspected Islamist terror cell believed to have plotted attacks in the country were formally charged on Thursday, a legal source said.
An alleged leading member of the group, Jeremy Bailly, was the first to be charged and detained on suspicion of having organized a grenade attack on a Jewish grocery store in a Paris suburb last month.
A French prosecutor on Thursday branded the suspected homegrown group of Islamist extremists as the biggest terror threat the country has faced since the Algerian-based GIA carried out a string of deadly bombings in the 1990s.
Announcing charges of attempted murder and terrorism against seven out of 12 suspects arrested over the weekend, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said that they had been part of an active terror cell that was “probably the most dangerous in France since 1996.”
The group had been plotting to mount attacks in France and to join up with other “jihadists” in Syria and elsewhere, Molins said.
The profile of the suspects in custody was “much more dangerous than we initially assumed,” he added.
“We have been able to avoid a terrorist attack in our country,” Molins said.
Later on Thursday, French President Francois Hollande vowed to track down and destroy Islamist extremist cells operating inside the country.
“We will go after them and we will eliminate them,” he told French broadcasters.
Hollande also said that letting extremism flourish abroad could come back to hurt France.
Authorities had information there were French nationals with the hardline Islamists in northern Mali, Somalia and Syria, he said.
He could not permit them to return to France with plans to launch attacks there, Hollande said.
The grenade attack on a Jewish grocery store in the Paris suburb of Sarcelles last month left one person slightly injured, but Molins said the grenade could have seriously injured anyone within a 10m radius.
Police have since discovered weapons and significant amounts of bomb-making equipment at the home of Bailly.
Bailly has admitted attempting to fabricate a bomb, but has refused to say whether anyone else was involved or what his potential target was. Five of the 12 initially detained were released without charge on Thursday.
The other seven are all French citizens, aged between 19 and 25, Molins said.
All but one of them are converts to Islam. Two of them had served time in prison for drug dealing.
One alleged leading member of the group, 33-year-old Jeremie Louis-Sidney, was shot dead after he opened fire on officers seeking to arrest him in a dawn raid at his home in Strasbourg.
THE ANSWER? The drug uses neutralizing antibodies produced by the human immune system, which the team isolated from the blood of 60 recovered patients A Chinese laboratory has been developing a drug it believes has the power to bring the COVID-19 pandemic to a halt. A drug being tested by scientists at Peking University could not only shorten the recovery time for those infected, but even offer short-term immunity from the coronavirus, researchers said. Sunney Xie (謝曉亮), director of the university’s Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Genomics, said that the drug had been successful in animal testing. “When we injected neutralizing antibodies into infected mice, after five days the viral load was reduced by a factor of 2,500,” Xie said. “That means this potential drug has [a]
‘SERIOUS QUESTIONS’: Three US senators sent a letter to the US commerce secretary asking whether the project ‘takes into consideration national security requirements’ US Senator Chuck Schumer and two other Democratic colleagues have written to top US administration officials asking for details of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd’s (TSMC) plan to build a US$12 billion fab in Arizona. Hsinchu-based TSMC on Thursday last week announced that it would build a plant to make 5 nanometer chips by 2024 that would have the capacity to produce 20,000 semiconductor wafers per month. The world’s biggest contract chipmaker already has one chipmaking fab in Camas, Washington, and design centers in Austin, Texas, and San Jose, California. It said it planned to start construction in Arizona next year and
VULNERABLE: Many women do not report sexual harassment by their landlord over fears they could lose the roof over their head, an expert said A growing number of landlords are asking tenants for sex in exchange for housing as COVID-19 lockdowns and job cuts have left many struggling to pay their rent, housing experts said. A survey by the National Fair Housing Alliance of more than 100 fair housing groups combating discrimination across the US found that 13 percent had seen an increase in sexual harassment complaints during the pandemic. “If I did not have sex with him, he was going to put me out,” one woman facing eviction by her property manager told the alliance in an podcast on its Web site. “As a single
MOM’S LONG CAMPAIGN: Mao Yin had been brought up in Mianyang, Sichuan Province, without any idea that he was the target of a decades-long, high-profile search A Chinese man who was stolen from his family as a toddler has been reunited with his parents after 32 years. Mao Yin (毛寅), then two-and-a-half years old, was snatched in 1988 when he was walking home from nursery with his father. His parents finally embraced him again on Monday in Xian, where he was born. After Mao vanished, his mother Li Jingzhi (李靜芝) quit her job and launched a decades-long search for her son, that included sending out more than 100,000 flyers and appearing on numerous TV shows. That long campaign helped 29 other families find their own missing children and made