• France's news in English

What we know about the Orléans terror plot

Ben McPartland · 23 Dec 2015, 08:40

Published: 23 Dec 2015 08:40 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve announced on Wednesday that a terror plot to attack Orléans had been foiled earlier this month by France’s internal intelligence services the DGSI.

It’s the tenth terror plot to be thwarted on French soil since 2013, the minister said.

He revealed certain details of what was planned and who was behind the plot.

What kind of attack was planned?

Cazeneuve said the attack was planned to strike against representatives of law and order. Sources close to the investigation have since revealed that the targets were a military barracks and police stations from the national police and the gendarmerie military police.

"One of the two arrested men has admitted they were planning to carry out against soldiers, police and representatives of the state," Cazeneuve said.

"It is believed they wanted to launch a gun attack on the targets, however we don’t know when the pair were planning to strike.

Who were the suspected plotters?

Police arrested two men, aged 24 and 25-years-old on December 15th and the 16th. The pair were presented before a judge on Saturday December 19th, charged with terror offences then remanded in custody.

According to police sources the pair both have a history of petty crime such as driving offences or theft. One police source described them as “two little delinquents with criminal records for minor crimes”.

A police source told Le Parisien newspaper that the older of the two men was known to intelligence services for having been radicalised. 

One of the arrested pair is believed to be from Morocco originally, while the other is from Togo.

In raids of their homes police found violent Isis propaganda videos as well as material that showed the pair had committed allegiance to the Middle East terror group.

“It’s hard to believe,” a friend of one of the pair told Le Parisien. “When he was younger he was a loving boy. He used to do Ramadan but he wasn’t someone you would call religious.”

How did police detect the plot?

According to sources the pair come on the radar of intelligence services when they attempted to buy arms – specifically assault rifles and Kalashnikovs.

They came to the attention of DGSI back in August and had been placed under surveillance since then. Apparently they received information from an anonymous source that several young people from in an around Orléans were in contact with a French jihadist from the area who had left for Syria.

Story continues below…

They were arrested the moment they tried to buy the guns. It has also emerged they were trying to strengthen their numbers by hoping to persuade others in their entourage to take part in the attack.

"These arrests are the result of meticulous work by our intelligence services," said the interior minister.

Did they have any help?

As in most of the other recent foiled terror attacks in France the suspect is believed to have been in contact with a jihadist in Syria – a possible commander.

This jihadist, a French national, is known to France’s intelligence services, reports say.

It has also been reported the pair received transfers totalling €4,000 from Syria, presumably to help them buy the arms.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Where exactly in France are Calais migrants being sent?
Photo: AFP

Here's where the 8,000 migrants in Calais are heading.

The annoying questions only a half French, half British person can answer
Photo: Beery/Flickr/AFP

Being half French, half British is means you get asked a lot of questions (and some of them can be a little annoying.)

Migrants bussed out of Calais Jungle to all corners of France
All photos: AFP

Hundreds of migrants are being bussed across France on Monday ahead of the demolition of the Jungle camp.

The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
A Prophet. Photo: YouTube Screengrab

Looking for something to watch?

The must-see French films of the millennium - Part Two
Rust and Bone. Photo: YouTube Screengrab

The newest French films you need to see before you die (or alternatively when you get some spare time).

Election Watch
Presidential hopeful reckons a pain au chocolat is 10 cents

So France happily takes the pastry out of him.

French ministry of defence officials die in plane crash
Screengrab: eddydeg/Twitter

The French Ministry of Defence officials were killed on Monday when a light aircraft went down on the island of Malta.

Revealed: The ten most stolen cars in France
A Smart car in Paris. Photo: JR_Paris/Flickr

Thieves in France are getting a taste for luxury cars, it seems.

Analysis - France migrant crisis
Migrant crisis won't end with Calais 'Jungle' closure
All Photos: AFP

The Jungle camp may be being cleared but this won't be the end of the migrant crisis in France.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie 'to sell their French chateau'
All photos: AFP

Want to live where Brangelina got married?

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available