News Agencies – January 26, 2012
A French court has sentenced three men to between two and six years in prison for plotting to carry out a car bomb attack on a public building near the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Rany Arnaud, Nadir Badache and Adrien Guihal were arrested in December 2008 after they allegedly planned to set off a car bomb outside the offices of a national police investigation body in the centre of Paris.
Arnaud, a convert to Islam and the ringleader of the group, was targeted by police after posting calls on an Islamic fundamentalist website for France to be attacked because of its participation in the war in Afghanistan. Arnaud was sentenced to six years in prison on a charge of belonging to a terrorist organisation. On the same charge, Badache was sentenced to two years in prison, with six months suspended, and Guihal was sentenced to four years, with one year suspended.
September 28, 2010
Tourists are being allowed back inside the Eiffel Tower after it was briefly evacuated following a bomb threat. It was the second alert in two weeks at the Paris monument. The telephoned threats have come as France is on alert for possible terror attacks on crowded targets.
Last week, National Police Chief Frederic Pechenard said authorities suspect Al Qaeda’s North African branch of plotting a bomb attack on a crowded location in France.That group, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, claimed responsibility for the Sept. 16 abduction of five French nationals and two Africans in northern Niger.
News Agencies – September 14, 2010
The Eiffel Tower and its immediate surroundings were evacuated the evening of September 14th after an anonymous caller phoned in a bomb threat, but a police search turned up nothing suspicious. Officials evacuated about 2,000 people and combed through the 324-metre tower, a Paris police spokesman said. By midnight, people were walking around and riding bikes underneath France’s most popular tourist spot again. Media reported that the scare was a false alarm. Paris police did not immediately return calls seeking information.
French media also said parts of a second tourist hub — the Saint-Michel subway station near Notre Dame Cathedral — were briefly evacuated following a similar threat. The station was the target of a terrorist attack in 1995 that killed eight and injured scores of people. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the threats. But it comes after the head of France’s counterespionage agency was quoted last weekend as saying that the risk of a terrorist attack on French soil has never been higher.
Bernard Squarcini told Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper that France’s history as a colonial master in North Africa, its military presence in Afghanistan and a bill aimed at banning burqa-style Muslim veils in public all make the country a prime target for certain radical Islamist groups.