French police find bomb material in car park
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Police discovered bomb-making material and firearms in a garage in a Parisian suburb while investigating suspected radical Islamists, the Paris prosecutor said Wednesday. A dozen people were arrested in an anti-terrorist raid over the weekend.
French anti-terrorist police have found bomb-making materials and weapons while investigating a suspected radical Islamist network, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said on Wednesday.
Molins said a dozen suspects rounded up in raids across France over the weekend would be held for a further 24 hours after the discovery of chemicals that could be used to make explosives at a garage, in a Paris suburb, which belongs to one of the suspects.
"Dangerous terror netork'
“We are clearly confronted with an extremely dangerous terror network,” Molins said in a statement to the media. “It is essential to extend their stay in custody.”
Investigators searched lock-up garages in the town of Torcy, near Paris, overnight after an anti-terror raid on Saturday ended with police shooting dead Islamist suspect Jérémie Louis-Sidney, who has been linked to a grenade attack on a Jewish supermarket last month.
Louis-Sidney died in a hail of bullets on Saturday after opening fire on police as they stormed his apartment in Strasbourg, north-eastern France.
Molins said on Saturday that all the arrested suspects were French and recent converts to Islam.
Four of the men involved in the raid had written wills, while one was carrying a loaded gun when arrested.
Molins said a shotgun, a revolver, bags of potassium nitrate, sulphur and a pressure cooker were discovered at a garage used by the suspect, at whose home police said they had also found a list of Jewish groups in the Paris area.
“These are all products used to make what we call improvised explosives,” he said.
Fear in the Jewish community
France’s Jewish community has been on edge after a series of attacks in recent months.
These have ranged from death threats against the chief rabbi of Lyon, to an attack – with a hammer and iron bars - on three young Jewish men.
In the worst incident, three Jewish children and a rabbi were among seven people shot dead in the southern city of Toulouse in March by al-Qaeda-inspired gunman Mohammed Mehra.
Last week, the French government said the terrorist threat remained high as it presented legislation that would allow allow police to arrest those believed to have been involved in terrorism-related activity outside French borders.
FRANCE 24 correspondent Florence Villeminot, speaking from the Paris prosecutors office on Wednesday, said that “this idea of home-grown terrorists” was “really worrying a lot of people here in France.”
Molins said the detention of the dozen suspects could be extended again by a further six days if necessary. Detention pending charges in France normally lasts no longer than four days.
(FRANCE 24 with wires)