France foiled terror attack organised by IS members in Syria, Iraq

Paris Prosecutor François Molins leaves after his press conference on November 25, 2016
Paris Prosecutor François Molins leaves after his press conference on November 25, 2016 AFP

The five men arrested last weekend in France for preparing an attack in the Paris area had received orders from the Islamic State armed group in the Iraqi-Syrian region, Paris Prosecutor François Molins said on Friday.

Advertising

Molins said police had found automatic weapons after raids in Strasbourg and Marseille. He added that the group was planning to strike on 1 December.

Seven suspects were arrested in police raids last weekend following an eight-month investigation by security services, although two were later released.

The other five -- four Frenchmen and a Moroccan -- appeared in court before anti-terrorism judges on Friday 25 November, Molins said at a press conference.

He added that "elements seized in Strasbourg" included written documents showing "clear allegiance" to IS and "glorifying death and martyrdom".

"The Strasbourg commando unit, but also the individual arrested in Marseille, were in possession of common instructions... sent by a co-ordinator from the Iraqi-Syrian region via encrypted applications," added Molins.

Investigators established that the Strasbourg cell was planning an attack on 1 December on one of a number of possible targets, although Molins admitted authorities have so far been "unable to determine the exact one".

The cell's members researched "a dozen sites" online including the Christmas market on the Champs-Elysees, the Disneyland Paris theme park, cafe terraces in the northeast of the capital, the Paris criminal police headquarters and a metro station, a police source said on Thursday.

France has been under a state of emergency since a wave of attacks that have started in January 2015.

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning