FRANCE — DGSI thwarts terror plot

“The two French men intended to commit an attack on French soil in the very short term, which is to say in coming days.”

Matthias Fekl — France Interior Minister

An Elite police officer pulls a suitcase after searches in Marseille, southern France, Tuesday, April 18, 2017. AP Photo/Claude Paris

April 18 2017 — France Interior Minister Matthias Fekl said police thwarted an imminent “terror attack” arresting two men in the southern port city of Marseille. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

Both men — one born in 1987 and the other in 1993 — are suspected Islamic radicals. Police seized guns and explosives of a type previously used in attacks in France and Belgium (TATP). Some of the bomb material was “ready for use”.

Clement Baur (L) and Mahiedine Merabet (R) arrested in Marseille, southern France, on April 18, 2017, on suspicion of preparing an attack just days ahead of the first round of France’s presidential vote. Credit: AFP

Matthias Fekl, the French interior minister, said:

 “The two French nationals were suspected of wanting to launch an imminent violent act on the eve of the presidential elections”.

“They intended to commit an attack in the very short term, namely in the coming days on French soil.”

A video police seized of one suspect shows him standing before an ISIS flag holding a machine gun and a copy of daily newspaper with François Fillon, the conservative presidential candidate, on the cover, with the words “la loi du talion (an eye for an eye)” on the screen.

[NOTE: The first round of the 2017 French presidential election will be held on 23 April 2017. Should no candidate win a majority, a run-off election between the top two candidates will be held on 7 May 2017.]

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Le Figaro cited a source close to Mr Fillon as saying:

“The initial intelligence came from British services who are thought to have intercepted data from two individuals known to security services.”

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Last month, Bernard Cazeneuve, the French prime minister, stated that five terror plots have been foiled since the start of the year and 17 were thwarted in 2016.

Comments

Some media have reported that the DGSE conducted the operation. That is not true. The DGSI began to look for the suspects after they received a tip on April 5 2017 from their British counterpart (SIGINT).

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Mr Fillon was previously a frontrunner, but has seen his popularity wane after allegations of misuse of public funds. This event could put him back in the race.

Mr Fillon wants to dismantle the DGSE as he wishes to remove the Technical Division (SIGINT) from the DGSE and makes it a full Agency akin to the NSA or the GCHQ. Mr Fillon also suggested that the DGSE should no longer be competent for the “Black Operations” such as the assassination of the persons on the French “Kill List”. In practise, the large majority of these assassinations is conducted by the Americans at the request of the French President.

REFERENCES

France says it thwarted an imminent ‘terror attack’ just days before presidential vote — GlobalNews

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FRANCE — DGSI thwarts terror plot

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