• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Chechens held in France with explosives

Ben McPartland · 20 Jan 2015, 14:17

Published: 20 Jan 2015 14:17 GMT+01:00

Five people were arrested on Monday night in southern France with a dangerous amount of explosives, a local investigator said on Tuesday.
 
Four of the men aging from 24 to 37-years-old were held in the town of Saint-Jean-de-Vedas, near Montpellier and one was picked up in Béziers, around 70km away.
 
The five suspects, Russian nationals from Chechnya, were placed in custody in Béziers and their homes have been searched, prosecutor  Yvon Calvet said earlier in the day.
 
The prosecutor said certain "products" had been recovered during their searches, without giving further details.
 
The prosecutor added however that the investigation was in its early stages and authorities were yet to establish whether or not a specific attack was planned.
 
Gilles Soulier, judicial police director of the southern city of Montpellier, told French media on Tuesday that: "There is no known attack plan. It is a case which has no religious connotation but it is organised crime."
 
Soulier said they had a dangerous amount of explosives in their possession.
 
 
According to the regional newspaper Midi Libre, "a cache explosives" was discovered not far from the Sauclières stadium on Béziers.
 
The newspapers police sources said firefighters were sent to the scene as a precaution. It also claimed that 100 grams of TATP explosives were found in apartment in Béziers . That is the same kind of substance that were used in the Boston marathon bombing.
 
One of those arrested lives in Béziers and another "probably" in the Mediterranean city of Montpellier, said the prosecutor.
 
Investigators are trying to find the addresses of three other individuals held in custody.
 
According to Midi Libre one of those held was implicated in a 2008 bombing in Montpellier, which left several people injured.
 
The arrests come as France remains on high alert following three days of attacks by jihadists earlier this month in Paris that left 17 dead.
 
Le Progres newspaper reported on Tuesday of another counter-terrorism operation in Lyon, last September, which saw two brothers arrested when police feared they were ready to mount an attack.
 
Chechnya stages huge protest against Muhammad cartoons
 
Chechnya is a restive republic in the Caucasus region to the south of Russia, with a largely Muslim population. It has been labelled as a breeding ground for terrorism and in recent years separatist Islamist rebels have launched attacks in Russia, with whom the region has fought two wars of independence in the past two decades.
 
Story continues below…
The two men accused of carrying out the bomb attack on the Boston marathon were of Chechen origin.
 
On Monday several hundred thousand people joined a state-organised rally in the Chechen capital Grozny against cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad published by Charlie Hebdo, with Russia's interior ministry putting the number at 800,000.
 
"This is a protest against those who support the publication of caricaturesof the Prophet Mohammed," Ramzan Kadyrov, who has ruled Chechnya with an iron fist since being installed by President Vladimir Putin a decade ago, told the demonstrators.
 
Kadyrov has turned Chechnya, where tens of thousands of civilians were killed in two Kremlin wars to crush a separatist movement, into a showcase of loyalty to Putin.
   
Kadyrov attacked the French government for backing Charlie Hebdo magazine's right to run a Mohammed cartoon on its front cover a week after two Islamist gunmen -- saying they were avenging the publication of previous Muhammad caricatures -- massacred 12 people in an attack on its office in Paris.
 
"We say firmly that we will never allow anyone to go unpunished for insulting the name of the prophet and our religion," Kadyrov said.   
 

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Today's headlines
French mayors dismiss suspended burqini ban
Photo: Jean Christophe Magnenet /AFP

The row over France’s burqini ban continues with several mayors vowing to keep restrictions in place despite the country’s top court suspending the ban in the resort town of Villeneuve-Loubet.

France's top court suspends burqini ban
Photo: bellmon1/Flickr

France's highest administrative court has suspended a town's ban on wearing the full-body burqini swimsuit.

Milk price raised, but French farmers still unhappy
The sign on the tractor reads 'We're dying', as farmers blocked Lactalis dairy headquarters. Photo: AFP

Milk prices have been raised by France's biggest dairy group to placate farmers, but unions say their demands have not been met.

Burqini bans 'dividing France's Muslim women'
Photo: AFP

The burqini bans have divided France, but they have also left Muslim women in France in two groups, argues a professor who has spent years studying the impact of the burqa.

Pizza-delivery drones could be on their way to France
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's your pizza. Photo: AFP

No more need to deal with grumpy French waiters...

Heatwave drags on as France faces red-hot weekend
Photo: AFP

France will see searing temperatures on Friday and Saturday, as the heatwave warnings have been extended (once again).

Nice: The French capital of burqini fines
The beach in the Riviera city of Nice. Photo: Valery Hache/AFP

It's one of only two of the 30 towns with a burqini ban in place to have actually given out any fines.

How to make France's famed Île Flottante dessert
Photo: Paul Oatway

France-based food blogger Laura Tobin shares her recipe for this delicious French dessert.

France's top court set to rule on burqini ban
Photo: bellmon1/Flickr

France's highest administrative court will decide this afternoon whether to overturn the burqini ban.

Corsica bushfire leaves 500 hectares scorched
Photos: AFP

A massive fire left 500 hectares of bushland in Corsica ravaged.

Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Education
French schools to ramp up security with 'mock attacks'
Sponsored Article
5 reasons to try dating in Paris with The Inner Circle
Features
Where to go in France to find the best ice cream
National
Majority in France against burqinis on beaches
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
How to keep cool during France's heatwave
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Society
Parisians invited to swim in the Bassin de la Villette
Society
Five tips for surviving an internship in France
Politics
Déja vu? Familiar faces in France's presidential race
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
National
Meet the man paying off burqini fines in France
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
Eight tips on buying wine in a French supermarket
Society
Here's how to enjoy Paris (while avoiding the heat)
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Society
Ten mistakes to avoid when dating a Frenchman
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Society
Twelve 'French' things that aren't actually French at all
'World's priciest home' on sale in French Riviera for €1 billion
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
Lifestyle
RECIPE: How to make the tastiest ratatouille
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Paris sees Europe's biggest plunge in 'liveability'
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
National
Life on the home front in rural France's 'war on terror'
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Features
Weird facts you didn't know about the French language
Society
Paris foodie event cancelled over lack of security
How to tackle six of the trickiest French verbs
National
Summer in France - 'the ideal time to find a job'
National
'Burqini bans will only divide France more'
National
French vineyards revive horse-drawn ploughs
French mayor bans Pokemon Go app from his village
2,761
jobs available