Suspected terrorists were ‘ready to take action’

Two men arrested in France this week on suspicion of wanting to carry out terrorist acts had bought explosives and were “ready to take action”, police sources revealed on Friday.

Suspected terrorists were 'ready to take action'
Police search the house in Marignane where two young men were arrested on suspicion of terrorism on Thursday. Photo Gerard Julien/AFP

A 20-year-old and 18-year-old were arrested by anti-terrorist police in the town of Marignane, near Marseille, in the Bouches-du-Rhone region on Thursday .

The pair were “ready for action” and bought matierials to make explosives”, sources close to the investigation told French daily Libération.

The arrests of two “suspected terrorists” comes one year after self-proclaimed Al-Qaeda inspired gunman Mohammed Merah killed seven people, including three Jewish children in Toulouse and Montauban.

In December last year, Interior Minister Manuel Valls warned that there may be “dozens of other potential Merahs” in France.

“We face an enemy within France, as a result of radicalization,” Valls said in the past.

The two suspects came to police attention when they sent a “threatening email” to US President Barack Obama in November last year.

On their Facebook pages the pair had described themselves as "Jihadists" and had posted around 20 extremist videos on their accounts.

Since then, they had expressed their desire to buy weapons as well as explosives in order “to take action”, police sources told Libération. It was at that point that police took the decision to arrest the men.

“They were potentially very dangerous and we could not afford to take any risks,” the source said.

After the arrest, Interior Minister Valls commended the investigators.

“I pay tribute to the actions of the police and intelligence services, who over the last few months, helped neutralize these particularly dangerous individuals. The threat from terrorism, however, remains high throughout the country.”

France has boosted national security in the light of its operation against Islamic extremists in the north of Mali. Several foreign extremist groups have since made threats to strike France on home soil.

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Surgeon fined for trying to sell Paris terror attack victim’s x-ray

A Paris court on Wednesday convicted a surgeon for trying to sell an X-Ray image of a wounded arm of a woman who survived the 2015 terror attacks in the French capital.

Surgeon fined for trying to sell Paris terror attack victim's x-ray

Found guilty of violating medical secrecy, renowned orthopaedic surgeon Emmanuel Masmejean must pay the victim €5,000 or face two months in jail, judges ordered.

Masmejean, who works at the Georges-Pompidou hospital in western Paris, posted the image of a young woman’s forearm penetrated by a Kalashnikov bullet on marketplace Opensea in late 2021.

The site allows its roughly 20 million users to trade non-fungible tokens (NFTs) – certificates of ownership of an artwork that are stored on a “blockchain” similar to the technology used to secure cryptocurrencies.

In the file’s description, the surgeon wrote that the young woman he had operated on had “lost her boyfriend in the attack” on the Bataclan concert hall, the focus of the November 2015 gun and bomb assault in which jihadists killed 130 people.

The X-Ray image never sold for the asking price of $2,776, and was removed from Opensea after being revealed by investigative website Mediapart in January.

Masmejean claimed at a September court hearing that he had been carrying out an “experiment” by putting a “striking and historic medical image” online – while acknowledging that it had been “idiocy, a mistake, a blunder”.

The court did not find him guilty of two further charges of abuse of personal data and illegally revealing harmful personal information.

Nor was he barred from practicing as prosecutors had urged, with the lead judge saying it would be “disproportionate and inappropriate” to inflict such a “social death” on the doctor.

The victim’s lawyer Elodie Abraham complained of a “politically correct” judgement.

“It doesn’t bother anyone that there’s been such a flagrant breach of medical secrecy. It’s not a good message for doctors,” Abraham said.

Neither Masmejean, who has been suspended from his hospital job, nor the victim were present for Wednesday’s ruling.

The surgeon may yet face professional consequences after appearing before the French medical association in September, his lawyer Ivan Terel said.