Theme park among targets of foiled French terrorist plot – media

FILE PHOTO © Eric Gaillard
A theme park and an unspecified area with a large police presence were among the targets mentioned by seven suspects detained by French police over the weekend following an eight-month investigation, French media reported.

Seven suspects, between 29 and 37 years old, of French, Moroccan and Afghan origin, were detained, and two have since been released.

Four of them were detained in Strasbourg, and two in Marseille.

Among the suspects, a few were of particular interest to police: in Strasbourg, Yassine B., who worked at a primary school, and Hicham M., both in their late thirties, are suspected of being in Syria last year, going there via Cyprus during school holidays.

The students' parents, as well as colleagues, described Yassine B. as “attentive and charming employee or friend,” iTele reported.

At his place, police found documents pledging allegiance to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), a few phones and SIM cards, as well as a password for the encrypted messaging app Telegram.

In Marseille, Hicham E., 46, a Portuguese resident, was monitored over the past few months for his frequent trips to Europe, according to reports by French media.

During the weekend raid, weapons were discovered, including three pistols and a number of magazines of 9mm rounds.

Two people, who provided accommodation for the suspected terrorists, were released.

Also, investigators from the General Directorate for Internal Security (DGSI, Direction generale de la Securite interieure) found jihadist propaganda texts, with abundant spelling mistakes, iTele reported.

The operation comes just over a year after Paris came under a brutal string of attacks – shootings, suicide bombings, and hostage taking – that took the lives of 130 people.

Since then, France has renewed the state of emergency – also due to new attacks having shaken the country: on the evening of July 14, a cargo truck deliberately rammed into crowds on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, killing 88 and injuring 434 people.