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article imageBig Bang scientist allegedly plotted to blow up oil refinery

By Kevin Jess     Oct 14, 2009 in Crime
The arrest last week in France of a nuclear scientist with links to al-Qaeda has allegedly uncovered a plot to blow up a refinery that would have leveled a city the size of London, England.
Adlene Hicheur , 32, along with his brother, were arrested on Thursday. The two are accused of having ties to the terrorist group al-Qaeda, as Digital Journal previously reported.
Hicheur was a nuclear scientist working under contract with the European Organization for Nuclear Research, which oversees the operation of the Large Hadron Collider, otherwise known as the Big Bang machine.
The ongoing investigation alleges Hicheur was targeting a Total oil refinery that would have destroyed a city "the size of London," reported the Mail Online.
Hicheur, who is on remand in Paris after being charged with "criminal activities related to a terrorist group" reportedly also kept a list of assassination targets that included senior European politicians such as French president Nicolas Sarkozy and the French interior minister Brice Hortefeux said the Mail Online report.
Mr. Hicheur, who is described as being "brilliant and solitary," is accused of using a pseudonym to correspond with members of the well-known North African unit of al-Qaeda and has already received payments from the group.
The group was targeting Total, a multi-national oil company that operates in most countries in Europe, including Britain and France.
Hicheur, a devout Muslim, is a Frenchman with a modest Algerian background. He is described as being deeply religious and mild-mannered.
He worked at Stanford University in California starting in 2001, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in 2005, and in other university cities such as London, Manchester, Durham and Edinburgh, reports the Mail Online.
French, British and American agencies who were tracking Hicheur's movements around the world had fears that he was plotting a nuclear terrorist attack and so the surveillance operation was suspended and a warrant was issued for his immediate arrest along with his brother.
His brother has since been released without charge.
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