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article imageMan held over ties to killer of French police couple

By AFP     Jun 21, 2016 in Crime

French investigators said they had detained Tuesday a man linked to the the jihadist killer of a police commander and his partner, and were probing whether the suspect had spied on other officers.

The 41-year-old was arrested in Les Mureaux, a town in the region of the Yvelines west of Paris, where police carried out six raids looking for associates of Larossi Abballa, shot dead by police after he killed the couple on June 13.

"These operations were carried out to verify reports saying that a group of people, including some with ties to Abballa, wanted to attack police officers. But at this stage there is no proven link with last week's attack," a prosecutor in the Yvelines' administrative capital Versailles told AFP.

Two other people were targeted in the police raids, including one who knew Abballa, police said.

However, they were not arrested, police said, reversing earlier reports that three were being held.

French police officer Jean-Baptiste Salvaing (right) and his partner Jessica Schneider were killed o...
French police officer Jean-Baptiste Salvaing (right) and his partner Jessica Schneider were killed on June 13, 2016 by a man claiming allegiance to the Islamic State group
Kamil Zihnioglu, Pool/AFP

The man taken into custody, a Moroccan thought to be linked to Abballa, was convicted in 2007 and jailed for eight years for his role in bombings that killed 33 people in Casablanca, Morocco, in 2003.

He was stripped of his French nationality in a move that was upheld earlier this month.

An investigation into suspected criminal conspiracy has been opened to determine whether surveillance was carried out on a police event in Yvelines ahead of the murders, the prosecutor said.

Police officer Jean-Baptiste Salvaing and civil police employee Jessica Schneider were stabbed to death at their home in Magnanville, also in Yvelines.

Abballa, 25, killed Salvaing before taking Schneider hostage and slitting her throat. Her three-year-old son who was in the house was traumatised but unharmed.

The convicted radical claimed allegiance to the Islamic State group in a live Facebook video and urged fellow jihadists to carry out more bloodshed.

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said police had found a hit list at the scene of the attack naming police, rappers and journalists.

Two other men linked to Abballa were charged and detained by an anti-terror court on Saturday.

Saad Rajraji, 27, and Charaf-Din Aberouz, 29, were charged with having links to a terrorist group, but were not found to have any connection to the murder of the police couple.

The two men had been convicted along with Abballa in September 2013 as part of a network to send jihadists to Pakistan, sources close to the investigation said.

The attack was the first in France since a group of Islamic State gunmen and suicide bombers killed 130 people in Paris in November 2015.

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