French prosecutor confirms three suspects face 'terror' charges

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins gives a press conference on April 21, 2017 in Paris, a day after a gunman opened fire on police on the Champs-Elysees avenue, killing a policeman and wounding two others in an attack claimed by the Islamic State. Photo: CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT / AFP

PARIS – French prosecutors on Sunday issued preliminary terror charges for three men linked to an explosives lab discovered in an apartment near Paris.

Paris counter-terrorism prosecutor Francois Molins said the men detained last week were charged with terrorist association and the manufacture of explosives.

Molins said the men,  a 36-year-old apartment owner named Ali M.R. and a man known as Frederic M. who was previously known to intelligence authorities, aimed “to manufacture a bomb” to carry out an attack in France. He said, however, no specific plan had been found.

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The explosive materials, along with the message in Arabic “God is great”, were found accidently in the lab in the Paris suburb of Villejuif on Wednesday after workmen had been called to fix a nearby water leak and told authorities after noticing suspicious products in an apartment.

Up to four kilograms (nearly 9 pounds) of the explosive TATP could have been manufactured from the material discovered, Molins said. TATP, a peroxide-based explosive, has been employed often by Islamic extremists.

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Ali M.R. told investigators he was following Islamic State bomb-making videos using the explosive materials and that he had acquired the substances, including 200 grams of TATP and 9 liters of acid, earlier this year, Molins said.

The prosecutor said Frederic L. said he wanted to commit a terror attack to take revenge on the international coalition against IS. Frederic L. had links with French jihadist and IS recruiter Rachid Kassim.

Molins said the two suspects admitted they had wished to join IS but never made it to Syria.

A third man was released Sunday without being charged.

African News Agency

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