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article imageFrench Air Force sergeant accused of planning mosque attack

By Robert Myles     Aug 12, 2013 in World
Lyons - French security services have arrested a 23-year-old sergeant in the French Air Force who is accused of planning an attack on a French mosque to coincide with the end of Ramadan, France’s Interior Ministry announced yesterday.
A statement released on the French Ministry of Interior website said the airman, based at Mont Verdun airbase near the city of Lyon in south-east France, had planned to use a firearm to open fire on a mosque in the Lyon area. The statement went on to say that the man arrested appeared to hold ideals “close to the extreme radical right.”
In recent years in France, attacks on mosques and other religious symbols of Islam have occurred with increasing frequency, a matter of concern to France’s Socialist Minister of the Interior Manuel Valls, since France has the largest population of Muslims of any country in Western Europe.
The arrested man spent four days being questioned after being arrested by members of France’s internal security service, the Direction centrale du renseignement intérieur (DCRI), France’s equivalent of the Department of Homeland Security. According to a report carried by French language 20 Minutes, he was indicted for “possession of fourth category ammunition connected to a terrorist enterprise” and “degradation of a religious shrine in relation to a terrorist enterprise.” In the meantime he remains in custody.
According to Press TV, the arrested serviceman had planned an attack on a mosque in the Lyon area and had confessed to an intended attack on the Minguettes mosque at Venissieux, a Lyon suburb, on Thursday August 8, which marked the end of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month.
BBC News reports a French judicial source as stating the man had confessed to an earlier attack on a mosque near Bordeaux in western France. That attack had taken place during the night of August 20, 2012 and involved a Molotov cocktail being thrown at the doors of a mosque in Libourne, earlier documented by Islamophobia Watch. Little damage was caused and no-one was injured in the Libourne attack.
The statement from the French Ministry of the Interior said Minister, Manuel Valls “congratulated DCRI agents for their investigation which pre-emptively brought [the suspect] to justice and out of harm’s way.” The Interior Minister re-iterated his determination to combat all forms of violence inspired by extremist ideologies that affect the values of the French Republic with the sole objective of creating tensions in society and spreading a climate of hate.
More about Muslims in France, attacks on mosques, Islamophobia, French Muslims, counter terrorism
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