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Paris prosecutor : Suspect charged with terrorism offenses

Thursday, Mar 31, 2016,10:22 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

Paris | A 34-year-old Frenchman arrested last week has been charged with a string of terrorism offenses for allegedly plotting an imminent attack and operating an explosives arsenal of what prosecutors called unprecedented scale.

Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins said today that the suspect, Reda Kriket, is accused of participating in a terrorist group with plans for at least one attack, possessing and transporting arms and explosives, and holding fake documents, among other charges.

Kriket is believed to have traveled to Syria in 2014 and 2015 and made several trips between France and Belgium, Molins said. At least three other people are in custody in the case in Belgium and the Netherlands.

Molins did not say whether Kriket’s purported plot was linked to the Islamic State network behind last week’s attacks in Brussels and last November’s attacks in Paris. Before the Paris attacks, Kriket and the suspected Paris plot ringleader were convicted in absentia last summer on terrorism charges. Two Algerians believed linked to Kriket’s alleged plot are being held in Brussels.

The Belgian federal prosecutors’ office said today that the men, identified as Abderrahmane A. and Rabah M, will face a hearing April 7. Another Frenchman linked to Kriket, Anis Bari, is being held in the Dutch city of Rotterdam, Molins said. Bari is resisting extradition to France.

Among things found when police searched Kriket’s apartment in the Paris suburb of Argenteuil on Thursday were 500 grams of the explosive TATP, 1.3 kilograms of industrial explosives, several bottles of oxygenated water and acetone, material to make detonators, five automatic rifles, seven cell phones, stolen passports and two computers showing links with jihadi groups, Molins said.

Also today, French President Francois Hollande decided to abandon proposed legislation that would have revoked citizenship for convicted terrorists and strengthened the state of emergency, because differences between the two houses of parliament could not be resolved. He had submitted the two proposals days after the November 13 attacks in Paris that left 130 people dead.