Friday, October 12, 2012

French Police Uncover Bomb-Making Materiel, Detain Islamists in Nationwide Anti-Terrorist Sweep

French police arrested 11 and fatally shot one during a nationwide counterterrorism dragnet this week.

Pre-dawn raids by police in the eastern Parisian suburb of Dorcy uncovered explosives and bomb-making materiel in a four story building not far from the grounds of the Euro Disney theme park. Heavily armed officers surrounded the building as the structure was searched for more explosives.

The man shot to death by police was identified as 33 year old Jeremy Sidney, a prisoner who served time for drug trafficking and had recently converted to Islam. Sidney had reportedly brandished a .357 Magnum revolver when police showed up at his apartment in Strousbourg and exchanged fire with officers- striking three, although the rounds were stopped by their body armour. Police returned fire, mortally wounding Sidney.
Paris prosecutor Francois Molins described him as "a delinquent" and said his fingerprints had been found on the remains of a grenade thrown into the kosher grocery store in the Paris suburb of Sarcelles on 19 September. One person was slightly injured in the attack.

Mr Molins said police had uncovered a list of Jewish associations and that the inquiry would determine "the next targets of this cell".
Prosecutors say that almost all of the men arrested in this week's sweep were fairly recent converts to Islam with extensive criminal backgrounds.

French authorities have been vigilant since a March 2012 massacre at a Jewish school in Toulouse. Although the press intially blamed white neo-nazis for the murder of a rabbi and three schoolchildren, it was eventually learned that a 23 year old Islamic radical named Mohammed Mera carried out the school shootings as well as two seperate attacks on French paratroopers in southern France. Mera himself was eventually killed by police after a lentghty standoff in his apartment within days of the attack.

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