Jihadists eye ‘train derailments & food poisoning in Europe’ – French media
French police have issued a confidential note based on an analysis of “jihadist propaganda,” warning of possible lone-wolf attacks causing trains to derail and even food poisoning, Le Parisien newspaper reports, citing the document.
“Due to recent jihadist propaganda urging plans for train derailment, particular attention should be paid to any reports of intrusion or attempted sabotage on the premises of railways,” a seven-page report compiled by the police directorate at the beginning of September reads, as cited by Le Parisien.
The document, which focuses on aspects of “jihadist propaganda” over the past three months, warns that terrorists are instructed to make explosives “as shown in tutorials,” conceal their radicalization, calling on “lone wolves” to cause “train derailments, forest fires or food poisoning" in Europe.
The highest police authorities confirm in the report, citing the propaganda analysis, that “the threats of attack remain very high” in France. The confidential document notes that apart from the railway network, increased vigilance is requested for schools and universities, including “sensitive products or materials” which jihadists may steal from laboratories for homemade explosives.
Tourist attractions such as churches, considered “a symbol of the western way of life,” are also listed among the potential targets most vulnerable to attack. The police report also mentions the threat of assaults in which people are attacked by speeding cars. Similar incidents happened this summer in London and Barcelona.
It is highly recommended that car rental companies check the identity of their customers and “report without delay any suspicious behavior” or “theft of vehicles.”
On Friday, a man armed with a knife threatened a soldier patrolling the Chatelet metro station in Paris. The assailant made statements referring to ‘Allah’ and ‘Daesh’ (Arabic pejorative for Islamic State) and was arrested without harming the Operation Sentinel soldier.
The French army's anti-terrorism Operation Sentinel was established following the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris.
On August 9, at least six French soldiers were injured, three of them seriously, when they were hit by a vehicle in a northwestern Paris suburb. The incident took place in Levallois-Perret commune, only 6km from the capital. The suspect was arrested hours after the incident on a motorway in northern France.
In June, police shot and injured a man who attacked three officers with a hammer near Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris while shouting “this is for Syria.” The man, who injured one of the officers, was also armed with two knives, French media reported. One officer was hit in the head with the hammer, prompting police to shoot at the attacker. The assailant had also threatened passersby before targeting the three police officers, according to BFM TV.
France declared a state of emergency following attacks in Paris in November 2015, in which more than 130 people were killed. It has been extended several times; the latest extension was in July and is expected to last until November 1.
Leader of the French right-wing National Front (FN) Marine Le Pen said earlier this week that terrorism should be treated as an “act of war,” and proposed the idea of creating special courts to judge terrorism-related cases.