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CRIME

Was far-right French journalist the target of failed Paris gas canister bomb?

A French extreme-right journalist, who wants Islam banned in France, believes he may have been the target of a failed bomb attack on an apartment building in a plush district of Paris.

Was far-right French journalist the target of failed Paris gas canister bomb?
Photo: AFP
Anti-terror police have arrested six people in connection with the attempted attack but are apparently still mystified as to why the perpetrators placed gas canisters attached to detonators inside the building in the chic 16th arrondissement last weekend.
 
But one theory put forward is that the bomb makers were trying to hit a figure known for his anti-Islam views but got it all wrong. Not only did the bomb not go off, but the man they may have after doesn't live there. 
 
Olivier Renault, a journalist known for his virulently anti-Islam writings, says the would-be attackers probably targeted the building because another man with the same name as him lives there.
 
“The attack that targeted my homonym proves that we are at war” (against Islam), Renault wrote on the news website of the far-right militant group Riposte Laique, which says he is one of their correspondents in Germany.
 
He compared the failed attack on his namesake that was thwarted at 4.30am last Saturday to a deadly knife attack by “criminal Muslims” that left two young women dead in the main train station in Marseille on Sunday.
 
 
The Paris street where the bomb attempt was thwarted. Photo AFP
 
One of the men arrested by police in connection with the gas canister plot had been on the intelligence services’ watchlist of suspected Islamist extremists.
 
But police sources told Le Parisien newspaper that the suspect was refusing to cooperate, leaving security forces still struggling to find a motive for the plot to blow up the plush apartment block.
 
One British tabloid suggested that it might have been a bid to kill Paris Saint-Germain football fans, as the building is a short walk from the Parc des Princes, where PSG play their home matches.
 
The team were due to play a game at the stadium later on Saturday. But police sources said that two attempts were made to detonate the gas canisters at around 4.30 am, many hours before any fans would have been on the streets.

CRIME

Frenchman extradited to US on hacking charges pleads not guilty

Frenchman Sebastien Raoult pleaded not guilty to cybercrimes Friday in Seattle federal court, two days after he was extradited from Morocco.

Frenchman extradited to US on hacking charges pleads not guilty

Federal Judge Michelle Peterson told the 21-year-old Raoult that he was charged with nine counts, including conspiracy, computer intrusion, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Raoult listened through an interpreter.

After Raoult’s plea of not guilty, the judge ordered him to be detained as a flight risk until a hearing April 3.

Moroccan authorities arrested Raoult at Rabat airport May 31 at the request of the US Department of Justice. Along with Raoult, two other French nationals were also arrested, Gabriel Bildstein, 23, and Abdel-Hakim El-Ahmadi, 22.

According to Raoult’s indictment, he and the other two men are alleged to have formed a hacking team, dubbed “ShinyHunters,” to steal confidential data from 60 companies to sell on the dark web where criminals routinely operate.

Some of the companies are located in the Seattle area.

According to experts, beginning in 2020, the hackers stole customer data from the Indonesian e-commerce site Tokopedia, the US clothing brand Bonobos, the US telecom AT&T and many other companies, putting the personal data for sale on the dark web.

The criminal charges carry a possible jail term of up to 27 years in prison.

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