Nine held in anti-terror raids across France as ‘attack is thwarted’

Nine suspects were arrested in a series of anti-terror operations carried out around France on Tuesday, with French media reporting a planned attack on the city of Nice had been thwarted.

Nine held in anti-terror raids across France as 'attack is thwarted'
File Photo: AFP

The raids took place in the greater Paris region of Île-de-France and the Provence-Alpes-Côtes-d'Azur region of the south east.

According to reports some nine individuals aged between 18 and 60-years-old were arrested in the raids carried out by France's specialist counter-terrorist police.

The arrests were reportedly made in the Val-de-Marne department to the south west of Paris, Seine-Saint-Denis to the capital's north, the city of Aix-en Provence, north of Marseille and the town of Menton, on the border with Italy.

Those held included two brothers who were known to have been radicalised, sources told AFP.

An arrest was also made in Switzerland which brought the total number of suspects held to 10.

The 27-year-old man arrested in Switzerland was in contact with a 14-year-old French boy who was “about to carry out the attack,” one of the sources said.

The teenager was arrested in the Paris region on June 20 and charged by an anti-terror judge, the sources said.

A photo of the boy holding a paper vowing his allegiance to the Islamic State group was found on social media, they added.

The Swiss man was “particularly active on social networks… and he had contacts with individuals living in France with whom he notably discussed
violent actions,” a judicial source said.

According to BFM TV those arrested are suspected of planning and preparing a terror attack.

The suspects exchanged “disturbing remarks” on the Telegram encrypted messaging app, the sources said, adding that investigators were seeking to “determine what they were plotting”.

It is not clear at this stage what their intentions were nor how far down the line their plans were, but according to Le Parisien newspaper, which first broke the news of the raids, the suspects planned to target the Riviera city of Nice, where 86 people were killed in the Bastille Day truck attack in 2016.

Quoting its own sources close to the probe Le Parisien said the intentions of the suspects had “become firm”.

Authorities in France have not confirmed Nice was indeed the target.

France remains on high alert for terror attacks and last week the Minister of Interior Gerrard Collomb claimed that 32 attacks had been foiled since the State of Emergency was declared the night of the November 2015 shootings and bombing in Paris.

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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.