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Three charged over makeshift gas canister bomb in Paris

French prosecutors have charged three men in connection with a makeshift explosive device made of gas canisters placed inside an apartment block in western Paris, a judicial source told AFP on Saturday.

Three charged over makeshift gas canister bomb in Paris
Photo: AFP

The three, identified as Amine A, his cousin Sami B, and Aymen B., were charged late Friday with “attempted murder in an organised group in connection with a terrorist enterprise” and placed in pre-trial detention, the source said.

All three were arrested on Monday evening, two days after the device was found in a block in the 16th arrondissement, one of the city's most exclusive neighbourhoods.

In total, police found four gas cylinders – two of them in the hallway attached to a mobile phone which investigators believe was meant to be used as a detonator. The other two were on the pavement outside.

Amine A., 30, and Aymen B., 29, are both on the terror watchlist.

Three of their associates who were taken for questioning earlier this week have all been released.

“The consequences in terms of human life and material damage could have been dramatic,” Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said on Friday, adding that it was unclear why they chose to target that particular building in Porte d'Auteuil.

It also remains unclear why the men did not activate the device. Police tracked them down by means of DNA found at the scene.

Over the past few years, France has suffered a string of deadly attacks which began in January 2015 and has claimed the lives of 241 people.

Last month, the interior minister said 12 attacks had been foiled since the start of the year.

In September 2016, three women were arrested after a foiled plot to blow up a car containing five gas canisters near the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris.

TRAVEL NEWS

Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

Car, moped, public transport, or electric bicycle - which means of transport is the quickest way to get across Paris?

Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

One intrepid reporter for French daily Le Parisien decided to find out. 

The challenge was simple. Which mode of transport would get the journalist from the heart of Fontenay-sous-Bois in the eastern suburbs to the newspaper’s office on Boulevard de Grenelle, west Paris, fastest?

Over four separate journeys, each one in the middle of rush hour, the electric bicycle was quickest and easiest. More expensive than conventional bikes, electric bikes do come with a government subsidy.

The journey was described as ‘pleasant and touristy’ on a dry but chilly morning going via dedicated cycle lanes that meant the dogged journalist avoided having to weave in and out of traffic.

It took, in total, 47 minutes from start to finish at an average speed of 19km/h, on a trip described as “comfortable” but with a caveat for bad weather. The cost was a few centimes for charging up the bike.

In comparison, a car journey between the same points took 1 hour 27 minutes – a journey not helped by a broken-down vehicle. Even accounting for that, according to the reporter’s traffic app, the journey should – going via part of the capital’s southern ringroad – have taken about 1 hr 12.

Average speed in the car was 15km/h, and it cost about €2.85 in diesel – plus parking.

A “chaotic and stressful” moped trip took 1 hour 3 minutes, and cost €1.30 in unleaded petrol.

Public transport – the RER and Metro combined via RER A to Charles-de-Gaulle-Étoile then Metro line 6 to the station Bir-Hakeim – took 50 minutes door to door, including a 10-minute walk and cost €2.80. The journey was described as “tiring”.

READ ALSO 6 ways to get around Paris without the Metro

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