Feb 16, 2017

Three, including girl, 16, charged with planning ‘imminent terror attack’ in France

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A TEENAGE girl, 16, is among three people charged over plans to carry out an “imminent terror attack” in France after police reportedly found explosives in a flat.

According to reports the group was arrested in Montpelier, on Friday on suspicion of planning an “explosive belt” attack in an area popular with tourists.

Judicial sources have told local media that three of the four arrested have been charged.

The three were identified as Thomas Sauret, 20; his partner, a 16-year-old minor named only as Sarah; and Malik Hammami, 33.

They were indicted on Tuesday for “criminal association in connection with a criminal terrorist enterprise”, sources said.

Sauret and his partner were also charged with making and possessing explosives in an organised group.

Interior Minister Bruno Le Roux said on Monday “an imminent terrorist act was being prepared”.

It is believed the case is being handled by anti-terrorism investigators.

Sources said the three had been spotted several weeks earlier using Telegram, an encrypted message system preferred by jihadists.

Police swooped after the teenager reportedly pledged allegiance to ISIS in a video on social media.

She and Sauret, both converts to Islam, had reportedly bought acetone and hydrogen peroxide – precursors of an unstable, homemade explosive called TATP.

Hammami is described as a father of two who was going through a divorce and had a long record of drug offences.

Seized computer and telephone equipment reportedly suggested the Eiffel Tower could have been considered as a target, although a source said “at this point, there is nothing indicating a plan for a clearly defined target”.

Last week Police sources  in Montpellier confirmed that a raid on a council estate in the city was “underway and that four people have been arrested”.

A 26-year-old man was also among those arrested, but he was released the following day without further action.

Two weeks ago a man with a machete was shot by soldiers after he attacked a trooper in front of terrified tourists.

Suspect Abdallah El-Hamahmy is recovering in hospital.

France is on high alert after a number of devastating terror attacks in recent years.


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