Two planned attacks, one against a libertine club and the other aimed at homosexuals, were foiled in France and three men were arrested.
Two plans for jihadist attacks have been defeated by the intelligence services, bringing to five the number of acts of impunity prevented since the beginning of the year.
France, under constant threat since 2015, was hit twice this year during attacks that left five dead. This wave of bombings killed 246 in more than three years, the last of which succumbed to a knife attack in the Opera district in Paris on the 12th May.
A targeted libertine club
At the same time, a “converted and radicalized” 38-year-old man was arrested in Chateauroux, Indre. “An improvised device was discovered May 13 in this individual who admitted to have wanted to use against a club libertine,” told AFP a source close to the investigation.
The man, born in 1980 in Loiret, was indicted and imprisoned on May 17 for “criminal terrorist criminal conspiracy” and “individual preparation for the commission of an act of terrorism,” said a judicial source.
And against homosexuals
In another case, two young men unknown to the intelligence services were arrested on Saturday 9th June in Seine-et-Marne: they are suspected of having prepared an attack on behalf of the group Islamic State (IS), potentially against homosexuals .
Aged 21 and 22 years and described as “very determined friends”, they were arrested at their homes in Montereau-Fault-Yonne (18,000 inhabitants) and Champagne-sur-Seine (6,500 inhabitants), as part of a Preliminary investigation opened three days earlier by the Paris prosecutor’s office, revealed to AFP judicial sources and close to the investigation.
On Tuesday, the two suspects were indicted by an anti-terrorist investigating judge for “criminal terrorist criminal conspiracy” and imprisoned.
Knives, firing devices …
“Knives, firing device and propaganda of the jihadist group were found in search” after their arrest by the Internal Security Directorate General (DGSI) supported by the Raid, according to sources close to the investigation .
“There are indications that they plan to attack homosexuals,” the sources said, but the contours of their project remain unclear to this day.
IS propaganda videos have been found in their electronic devices. “They did not speak explicitly of an attack but one of them evoked the search for a weapon,” said a source.
In Champagne-sur-Seine, near Fontainebleau, one of the two suspects had been living with his family since Christmas in a five-storey public building. The neighbors evoke “very reserved people”: “We said hello, they did not answer you, they barely opened their door”.
These neighbors describe a family of practicing Muslims but “not bearded”, with the arrested young man carrying a “small goatee”.
51 attacks foiled since January 2015
“The DGSI had detected on the social networks the activity of an account evolving in the radical Islamic sphere,” said Interior Minister Gérard Collomb in a statement, welcoming these “preventive arrests”.
A few days after the attack near the Opera House, the minister had himself revealed another project foiled, that of an Egyptian, also unknown services and who considered an attack with explosives or poison.
In January, a man was arrested in the Gard and another project targeting large sports equipment in the West was foiled at the same time.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe had evoked in March a total of 51 attacks foiled since the beginning, in January 2015, of the wave of unprecedented jihadist attacks that hit France.
The profile of the two accomplices of Seine-et-Marne – neither Islamists released from prison nor “ghosts” of the zone of combats in Iraq and Syria – illustrates the change of the jihadist risk in France.
Since 2017, the political and judicial authorities regularly stress the dangers of this “endogenous” threat, embodied by people radicalizing themselves on its soil in response to the slogans of the IS on the internet.
Part of the reason for these acts is the drying up of the jihad-based channels in the Middle East and the military rout of ISIS in its former territories in Iraq and Syria.
The government is expected to present a new plan of action against terrorism in the near future.