- Title: Islamic State gave orders to suspects planning attacks in France - prosecutor
- Date: 25th November 2016
- Summary: JOURNALIST TAKING NOTES
- Embargoed: 10th December 2016 12:43
- Keywords: arrest plot Strasbourg Marseille security
- Location: PARIS AND LEVALLOIS-PERRET, FRANCE
- City: PARIS AND LEVALLOIS-PERRET, FRANCE
- Country: France
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,International/National Security
- Reuters ID: LVA00259Y0XMV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Five suspects, arrested in France on suspicion of planning attacks on security targets in and around the French capital, were directed remotely by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the Paris prosecutor said on Friday (November 25).
Authorities said earlier this week that attacks had been planned for Dec. 1 against police and intelligence headquarters in Paris as well as the Disneyland Paris theme park.
The prosecutor's emphasis that France was under direct threat of attacks from Islamic State militants raised tension as the country went into a weekend of political campaigning and a vote on Sunday (November 27) for a center-right candidate for next year's presidential election.
France is already under a state of emergency, with soldiers patrolling the streets of the capital, following bomb and shooting attacks by Islamic militants in November 2015 which killed 130 people.
"A Strasbourg commando team, and also a man arrested in Marseille, were given instructions to acquire arms. The instructions were given by a commander from the Iraqi-Syrian region via encrypted apps, popular with terrorists," Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins told a news conference.
Molins said one suspect arrested in Marseille carrying several thousands of euros showed he had been looking to buy weapons.
"(Those) weapons were going to be used to create public disorder, through intimidation or terror on French soil on behalf of the terrorist organisation Daesh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State). The elements which were found in Strasbourg and in particular in the homes of Yacine B. and Icham M. uncovered clear writings of allegiance to Daesh and glorifying martyrdom," Molins said.
Two of the five suspects had travelled to the Turkey-Syria border via Cyprus in March 2015, he said. Four of the men are French, while a fifth is Moroccan.
"Initial investigations revealed in particular the presence in a telephone and in Yacine B.'s computer screengrabs of searches via Google Maps of several locations. These searches show that those individuals had obviously the plan to look for and find targets in order to strike at very short notice," Molins said.
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