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CRIME

France foils jihadist plan to attack naval base

Authorities in France have arrested a man who has links to an Isis jihadist in Syria and admitted to a plot to attack military personnel at a major naval base, police and judicial sources have said.

France foils jihadist plan to attack naval base
A French aircraft carrier sets off from the Toulon navy base earlier this year. Photo: Boris Horvat/AFP

The 25-year-old, whom sources said had been monitored by intelligence agencies after trying unsuccessfully twice last year to travel to Syria, was held late last month and charged on November 2nd, authorities said on Tuesday.

The interior ministry said in a statement that the man had been under surveillance “because of his radicalization and public support for jihadist ideology” and had “attempted to acquire material to carry out a violent attack on Navy personnel in Toulon”.

While he was being monitored, he had a parcel delivered by the post office which was found to contain a combat knife and a mask.

During questioning he admitted he had been in contact with a Frenchman currently in Syria with the Isis group, who had encouraged him to act, a source close to the case said.

He eventually admitted plotting to attack sailors at the Mediterranean base of Toulon, home to 70 percent of the French fleet and 20,000 military and civilian personnel, though a police source said he had not formed a detailed plan.

One source said the French IS fighter had himself been held for several months in France for making violent threats against satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in 2012.

In January, Islamist gunmen carried out a string of attacks in Paris that left 17 dead, including much of Charlie Hebdo's editorial team.

The country has been on high alert since then and several other attacks have reportedly been foiled.

Attacks by extremists returning from Syria or in online contact with jihadists there figure high among the French intelligence services' worries,

More than 500 French fighters are thought to be with Isis in Syria and Iraq, according to official figures. 250 have returned, and some 750 have expressed a desire to go there.

CRIME

French tax agent ‘kidnapped and killed while conducting an audit’

A French tax inspector was kidnapped and killed, reportedly while carrying out a tax audit in a village in northern France on Monday evening.

French tax agent 'kidnapped and killed while conducting an audit'

The 43-year-old tax agent died on Monday night in northern France, with local media Actu Pas-de-Calais reporting that he was killed by the man whom he was auditing, who later died by suicide.

Emergency services were called to the small village of Bullecourt in the Pas-de-Calais département of northern France at around 8pm. Upon arriving they found two men dead and a woman, reported to be another employee of the tax office, tied up.

She was not believed to be seriously injured but was treated for shock. 

The public prosecutor released a statement saying that both tax agents “were carrying out an at-home audit to check the accounts” of the local man reported to be a brocanteur (antique dealer), who then “kidnapped them and tied them up.” 

“The accused then killed himself with a firearm,” according to the prosecutor’s office. 

The mayor of Bullecourt, a small village of 250 inhabitants, told AFP that he remembered the accused antique dealer as a “helpful” and “ordinary person” who had “integrated into the village.”

Gabriel Attal, the Public Accounts Minister, issued a statement on Monday evening expressing his condolences and saying that the tax agent “was simply doing his job” and that “today, he did not return.” The minister lamented that the agent was “killed while completing a tax audit.”

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