Muslim Hate in France

Korea Warns Against Visiting Paris Migrant Suburbs After Men Loot, Try to Set Fire to Coach of Tourists

14 Feb 2017

The Korean embassy has warned against visiting the migrant-dominated Paris region of Seine-Saint-Denis after thugs terrorised a coach of tourists.

A group of around forty South Korean tourists were ‘slapped’, threatened, and robbed by five men who climbed aboard their coach as it was stuck in traffic near Bobigny, where anti-police riots were taking place.

The intruders first “slapped” some of the passengers, then proceeded to loot the vehicle, stealing “all valuables: blue cards, cash and even Eurostar train tickets” before finally attempting to set fire to the coach as they left the vehicle, Le Parisien reported on Tuesday.

According to the Korean embassy in Paris, the perpetrators shouted as they boarded the coach, and then threatened tourists with what is believed to have been a glass bottle, which they also used to “tap” the heads of passengers sitting towards the front of the vehicle.

The incident took place as the group of holidaymakers travelled from the Eiffel Tower to their hotel in Seine-Saint-Denis. Describing them as “panicked” when they finally arrived at the hotel, its manager said the tourist group refused to leave the hotel to report their ordeal to the police.

“What has happened is extremely regrettable, but thankfully it remains marginal,” the hotelier told Le Parisien, which reported that since then the Korean embassy has advised Korean citizens not to visit Seine-Saint-Denis.

On Saturday evening as the attack on the coach took place, a large gathering of around 2,000 anti-police protesters near the hotel had turned violent after just an hour with “violent incidents, broken windows, tear gas and burnt vehicles”, according to local media.

Seine-Saint-Denis, a department in which already by 2005 almost 60 per cent of under 18s were of foreign origin, has been badly affected by ongoing violence as anti-police protesters riot over the assault of a black youth worker who alleges that he was anally raped with a truncheon while being arrested.

Last month Breitbart London reported that France has seen a steep decline in visitor numbers from East Asia amid surging violence and crime.

President of the Chinese Association of Travel Agencies in France, Jean-François Zhou, warned that “increasingly violent” thefts and assaults are turning France into “one of the worst destinations for foreign tourists”.

FRANCE BURNING: Officials 'HIDE' arson stats as 1,000 cars set alight in sinister torching

THE French government has been accused of hiding their inability to control the country’s sinister New Year’s Eve torching tradition as the interior ministry claimed the night passed “without any major incident” – but almost 1,000 cars were set on fire and destroyed.

Jan 3, 2017
Sunday Express

On Sunday, the French officials chose to release a low figure of 650 destroyed cars which only indicated the vehicles that were “set on fire” – a figure which did not include those car that were completely destroyed and engulfed in ensuing flames.

But the official figures revealed a 17 per cent rise since last year’s arson attacks, as a total of 945 parked cars were torched during the terrifying tradition.

Pierre Henry Brandet, a spokesman for the French interior ministry, said: “Once again this year, the overall number of vehicles burned demonstrates that, however intolerable, the phenomenon is contained”.

In reality, 454 people were arrested by police throughout the night of New Year’s Eve and 301 of them were taken into custody.

Marine Le Pen’s National Front far-right party immediately condemned the French government for providing the figures that were “extremely hazy”.

A National Front statement read: “The new interior minister Bruno Le Roux… (initially) didn’t communicate the number of vehicles burned and considers that the number of cars directly set on fire to be ‘contained’ while even this constitutes a significant rise of 8 per cent.”

Protesting his government’s innocence, Mr Brandet said the initial low figures were “the most pertinent and the most coherent”.

Mr Brandet added: “There is absolutely no attempt at hiding anything. You have to look at the trend over several years, and what is significant is that there has been a significant drop over five years.

“These incidents are not tolerable and the perpetrators must be found and answer for their acts before justice.”

The custom of setting vehicles alight on New Year’s Eve is said to have kicked off in the highly deprived and immigrant areas of Strasbourg, Germany and eastern France during the 1990’s.

This year, a firefighter in the eastern department of Ain was injured as he tried to extinguish a burning car.

But the 2005 riots are still branded the worst in France as 8,973 vehicles were damaged, two people died and 126 police and firefighters were injured.

With France ruled in state of emergency due to the number of recent terror attacks, around 90,000 security forces were deployed on French streets during the New Year celebrations where half a million revellers congregated.

Nicolas Sarkozy, the former French president, briefly abandoned the tradition of issuing an official breakdown of New Year’s Eve car burning figures when he was leader amid fears copycat actions will be sparked, yet the figure release has since been re-instated.

Nice terrorist attack on Bastille Day

By Barney Henderson Rozina Sabur

16 JULY 2016
The Telegraph

A truck smashed into a crowd in the French resort of Nice, killing at least 84 people in what President Francois Hollande on Friday called a "terrorist" attack on revelers enjoying a Bastille Day fireworks display.

The driver, named by authorities as Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, barreled the truck two kilometres (1.3 miles) through the crowd on the palm-lined Promenade des Anglais, sending hundreds fleeing in terror and leaving the area strewn with bodies.

Bouhlel then opened fire on the crowd before police shot him dead, said the regional president in Nice Christian Estrosi . Two guns, a number of fake weapons and grenades were discovered in the vehicle.

As the sun rose on Friday morning, the lorry could still be seen where it finally came to a halt, its windscreen peppered with bullet holes. Bouhlel's apartment was raided by police later on Friday.

Among the fatalities are ten children and adolescents. Some 200 people were injured, with 50 in a critical condition and 25 in intensive care.

It has emerged that just hours before the attack, Mr Estrosi had sent a letter to François Hollande, the French president, warning that national police officers were under-equipped and exhausted after months working overtime in a state of emergency.

Nice is considered a town under particular terrorist threat, notably due to a large contingent of residents who have left to fight in Syria.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said a Briton is believed to be among the scores injured. The US state department confirmed two American citizens were killed in the attack, Sean Copeland, 51 and his son Brodie, 11 from Austin, Texas. Also among the dead are an Armenian, a Russian, a Ukrainian and two Moroccans.

Prime Minister Theresa May said the British government would "to review what we know and what we can do to help" before a government Cobra meeting was held on Friday.

Mrs May said she would speak to President Hollande to "make clear that the UK stands shoulder to shoulder with France today as we have done so often in the past". She added: "we must redouble our efforts to defeat these brutal murderers who want to destroy our way of life."

While London's Mayor Sadiq Khan announced he will be reviewing the British capital's own safety measures following the attack.

"They will not win. Not in France, not in London, not anywhere," Mr Khan said. "We will defeat their poisonous and twisted ideology."

ISIL has claimed responsibility for the attack

ISIL claimed responsibility Saturday for the attack by Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel who used a hired lorry to kill at least 84 people in a rampage during Bastille Day celebrations in Nice.

An Islamic State-run media outlet says the man who drove his truck into a crowd in the French coastal city of Nice is a "soldier" of the group.

The Aamaq news agency on Saturday cited a "security source" as saying the attacker "carried out the operation in response to calls to target the citizens of coalition countries fighting the Islamic State."

French authorities said they were checking the claim.

Who is the killer?

French-Tunisian Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel was identified as the killer after papers belonging to him were found in the truck, as well as finger prints on the vehicle.

A father of three, he is thought to have been known to police from his criminal history. Authorities are still investigating if he acted alone.

The 31-year-old was recently estranged from his wife who now lives nearby, neighbours have told The Telegraph.

One said he was a "loner who was rude."

His estranged wife is now in police custody being questioned over his links to terrorism.

A neighbour who gave her name only as Jasmine, 40, said: "He was rude and bit weird. We would hold the door open for him and he would just blank him.

"He kept himself to himself, but would always rant about his wife. He had martial problems and would tell people in the local cafe.

"He scared my children though. They will be scarred by this. They were down there last night - they are 13 and 7 - they could have been involved."

Police raided Bouhel's apartment in Nice's north district on Friday morning. Bouhel worked as a delivery driver and had a criminal history, but was not known to be a terror risk.

BFM TV has reported that Bouhlel was a divorced father of three who had become depressed following the break down of his marriage. He was known to the police for assault with a weapon, domestic violence, threats and robbery but had no previous convictions for terrorism.

Neighbours told reporters Bouhel was not particularly interested in religion, adding that he preferred girls and salsa. They said that he had been unhappy since his divorce, and that he suffered from financial problems. He was a delivery driver but recently caused an accident after falling asleep at the wheel, and was taken into custody following the incident.

Police identified him through a driver’s license in the truck, as well as fingerprints in the vehicle’s interior. Investigators also seized a  mobile phone and credit cards from the truck.

His estranged wife is now in police custody being questioned over his links to terrorism.

Psychological State

A police source has told The Telegraph that Bouhel might have been motivated more by a desire to commit suicide than by an Islamist ideology.

Despite a claim by Isil that it ordered the attack, describing Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel as a “soldier of Islam”, the source who is close to the investigation said that the 31 year old attacker may have been “a suicide case who decided to make his suicide look like an Islamist attack. Investigators are being cautious about definitively ascribing a motive for the time being.”

Police make arrests, including killer’s former wife

Five people suspected to have links to the driver of the lorry that mowed down and killed at least 84 people have been arrested, the Paris prosecutor’s office said.

The estranged wife of killer Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel was still being held by police on Saturday morning, a judicial source told news agency Agence France Presse.

Ramzie Arifa, 22, was arrested in a dawn raid on Saturday at his family's apartment on Rue Marceau, about a mile inland from where the deadly attacks took place.

His sister Arefa Bilet, 17, told The Telegraph that the police arrived at 6am and shot their apartment door down.

She said: "My brother is not a terrorist. We are Muslim but by my brother is not religious. He drinks, he smokes, he goes out.

"He was among the victims on the promenade on Thursday night.  He was there with my older brother and his friends. He was not near the lorry but when he saw people running he ran away too. He arrived back at the apartment later that evening.

"He had no idea that there was going to be a terrorist attack. He returned here that night and said he was shocked by it."

Hollande extends state of emergency

President Hollande said “the whole" country was "under threat from Islamic terrorism” as he extended a state of emergency, already in place since November's attacks in Paris, by another three months.

“A fresh atrocity has has just been inflicted on France,”  he said in a televised address.

A military operation is in place allowing the mobilisation of 10,000 troops and France's borders are being tightened. Spain's acting Interior Minister also confirmed the country is keeping raised security measures at the Spanish-French border in light of the attack.

Mr Hollande not only announced a reassessment of the domestic terror threat, but also pledged to step up military activity in Syria and Iraq.

“We will maintain a high level of vigilance, the state of emergency will be maintained for three months,” Mr Hollande added.

“Human rights are being denied by terrorists, France is clearly their target. The nature of terrorism cannot be denied. The perpetrator has been killed, we do not know whether he had any accomplices.”

Authorities are pursuing the possibility that the driver had assistance after analysis of CCTV footage appeared to trace the truck's progress from "the hills" in Nice.

French police have said the security for last night's celebrations was "sufficient" in light of questions over how the 19-tonne truck was able to penetrate the promenade des Anglais and travel for two kilometres before being halted.

Luc Poignant of the Unité SGP Police FO union, said: "The security set-up was sufficient. Indeed, a policeman neutralised (the killer). And people wanting to stroll along the promenade des Anglais were searched.

"Everything had gone well," he told Le Monde.

"But people must understand that one cannot prevent a lorry smashing through barriers and charging a crowd unless we erect concrete walls along the promenade des Anglais. No security set-up can stop this type of attack. There is no controversy over security on this night."

Just hours before the attack, Mr Estrosi had sent a letter to François Hollande, the French president, warning that national police officers were under-equipped and exhausted after months working overtime in a state of emergency.

Nice is considered a town under particular terrorist threat, notably due to a large contingent of residents who have left to fight in Syria.

Witnesses describe horror

The manager of Le Voilier Plage restaurant in Nice described the panic as revelers learnt what was happening.

He said: “Just as the fireworks finished we saw a lorry drive on to the pavement. There was a massive panic - there must have been somewhere between 1,000 and 1,500 people on the Promenade des Anglais. There was an awful panic, people were running everywhere. We provided a refuge for some people, mothers, children. There were people lying on the ground who were injured or worse.

“There were children in tears."

A man identified as Manon told Nice Matin newspaper: “The driver had made up his mind, he was going to crash. The van drove on to the pavement. It passed two metres away from us. I saw people lying down  I saw a small child on the ground."

Britons caught up in terror

Joel Fenster, a 23-year-old law student from north London who is in Nice for a language course, told The Telegraph how he and a friend ran for cover after hearing gunshots.

“We went to watch the fireworks on the beach and then after we knew there was meant to be a concert so we were walking round to the promenade. It was a perfectly normal night,” he said, speaking from his apartment in Nice.

“Suddenly everyone started running in the opposite direction to us, and ducking down. It seemed like there was someone coming - there was a strong sense that we needed to get away. So we started running away from the beach, inland towards the old town.  We heard the gunshots - initially one, then later two more."

British holidaymaker Esther Serwah, 59, was staying in a hotel a short walk from the scene, Peter Allen, in Paris, reported.

She said she had been on her way to the Promenade des Anglais for dinner with her daughters when people started screaming at her.

Mrs Serwah, from Surrey, said: "I was just walking to the Promenade and then I saw everybody running and I just didn't know what was going on. People were screaming at me in French but I didn't understand.

"Some people were lying on the streets dead and people were running over the bodies. Everybody was saying it's a terrorist attack. It's just horrible, horrible, horrible. I'm in shock. I'm still shaking."

A Rihanna concert scheduled for Friday night at the Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice has been cancelled, as have the city's jazz festival, which was due to run from Saturday to Wednesday, and some of the Bastille celebrations over the weekend.

World leaders express shock, outrage and solidarity

Middle East states and leading Muslim clerics united Friday in condemning the truck attack, calling for a joint struggle against extremism.

Sunni Islam's leading centre of learning, Al-Azhar, said the "vile terrorist attack" contradicted Islam and urged the world to unite efforts "to defeat terrorism and rid the world of its evil".

Tunisia said that the attacker, who police said held joint French-Tunisian citizenship, had committed an act of "extreme cowardice" and expressed solidarity with France against the "scourge of terrorism".

It also said it was opening a judicial inquiry into the attack.

It is the latest in a long line of recent terror attacks in France

March 2012:
A French Algerian killed three soldiers, a teacher and three young students at a Jewish school in Toulouse.  He was later shot dead.

23 May 2013:
A convert to Islam named as Alexandre Dhaussy stabbed a French soldier in the neck at La Defense in Paris. The soldier survived the attack.

December 2014:
A French national born in Burundi attacked several police officers at a station in Joue-les-Tours. He had a knife and shouted "Allahu Akbar". He was shot dead.

7 January 2015:
Saïd and Chérif Kouachi shoot dead 12 people at the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

8 January 2015:
Amedy Coulibaly killed a policewoman before entering a Jewish supermarket in Paris where he shot dead four others. Both Coulibaly and the Kouachi brothers were later shot dead by police.

26 June 2015:
In a chemical factory near Grenoble, one man was beheaded and several others were injured. One man was arrested in what President François Hollande called a terror attack.

21 August 2015:
Three off-duty American marines overpowered an armed gunman on a high-speed train from Amsterdam to Paris. Three people including the suspect were injured. The Americans and several other passengers held the man down until police arrived.  He was later arrested in Arras, northern France.

13 November 2015:
Scores dead as men armed with Kalashnikovs and grenades carried out a series of attacks at restaurants, a concert hall and outside the Stade de France in Paris. President Hollande closed the borders and declared a state of national emergency.

13 June 2016: A police officer and his wife, a police secretary, were stabbed to death inside their home near Paris by a man who said he had pledged allegiance to Islamic State.

14 July 2016: More than 80 people were killed and scores injured when a terrorist drove a lorry into a crowd of Bastille Day revellers in Nice.

Paris terror attacks were plotted by a small extremist cell in Brussels, investigators suspect

By:Richard A. Serrano, Henry Chu and Joe Mozingo
November 14,2015
The Los Angeles Times

Friday night’s terror attacks in Paris apparently began with a small extremist cell in Brussels, where French authorities believe the attacks were planned and the operation financed, according to two U.S. law enforcement officials who have been advised about the ongoing French probe.

The sources, speaking confidentially because the investigation is just underway, also emphasized that the attackers probably had a substantial understanding of the history and culture of France -- Paris in particular -- and said it was “highly possible” some had lived in the capital.

That, the sources said, was evident in how they seamlessly moved about the vast metropolis and set up coordinated attacks at six targets across the city -- from a stadium to a theater to a restaurant.

French prosecutor Francois Molins said three teams of terrorists, carrying AK-47 assault rifles and wearing explosive vests with identical detonators, appeared to have coordinated the attacks that killed 129 people and injured 352 across a swath of central Paris.

Nineteen people were gunned down at a sidewalk cafe, and more were killed in at least five more attacks in a vibrant area not far from the Place de la Bastille.

When terrorists struck the Bataclan concert hall, survivors described a horrifying shooting gallery. With little cover, concert-goers scrambled for exits or laid low to escape up to 10 minutes of withering fire from automatic weapons.

A journalist who works for the French newspaper Le Monde captured a portion of the grisly scene on video.

The reporter, Daniel Psenny, who lives behind the theater, had a vantage point above one of the emergency exits.

The nearly three-minute video shows terrified concert-goers running out of the theater as gunshots ring out. They can be seen running around at least one body lying on the ground just outside the exit, and several people drag apparently injured victims down the alley away from the venue.

One injured person hopped down the alley, which was stained with blood. Multiple people appeared to be hanging onto the side of the building in an apparent attempt to escape the upper floors.

Psenny told his newspaper that he opened the door to his apartment building to allow victims in, and was shot in the arm.

A young man named Louis was in the audience at the Bataclan with his mother when the gunfire erupted.

“These guys arrived, and they started shooting from near the entrance,” he told France Info radio shortly after the attack.

Louis’ sobbing grew more intense as he continued: “They were shooting straight into the crowd, screaming `Allah Akbar.’”

“I heard them reloading. The concert stopped. Everybody was lying on the ground. They kept shooting people. It was hell.”

Louis, who was speaking by mobile phone from a car as he and his mother were leaving the scene, apologized for crying. The France Info anchor told him it was OK under the circumstances and asked him to keep speaking.

“I got my mother. We were lying on the ground. Someone said, 'They’re gone.' We got out through an emergency exit. The gunshots kept going as we were leaving. We were stepping over bodies. It was a nightmare.”

“We avoided getting shot,” he said. “There were people everywhere on the ground.”

Molins said 89 people died at the Bataclan. He said the attackers mentioned Syria and Iraq as they fired. When police entered the building, two of the terrorists detonated their suicide vests and one was shot to death by authorities, he said.

“We are determined to find out who were the attackers, who were the accomplices,” he said. “How they were financed.”

One of the terrorists who took hostages was a 29-year-old man who has been arrested eight times for “acts against the common good,” but had not been linked to terrorists, Molins said.

A second Frenchman was stopped and questioned at the Belgian border. He had rented a black Volkswagen Polo driven by a man believed to be one of the gunmen who attacked concertgoers at the Bataclan, the prosecutor said.

Authorities were still looking for a black Seat car believed to have been used during the attacks on several sidewalk cafes, he said.

One of the victims was a 23-year-old design student at Cal State Long Beach.

Nohemi Gonzalez, of El Monte, was part of an international exchange program at the Strate School of Design, according to a statement translated from French and posted on social media by the school’s dean, Dominique Sciamma.

Gonzalez was a “kind, thoughtful, generous and talented student, dear to all who knew her,” Michael LaForte, a lecturer at Cal State Long Beach’s department of design, wrote on Facebook. “We grieve for her today and give our hearts to her grieving family and boyfriend.”

LaForte said three other Cal State Long Beach students were in Paris with Gonzalez and are safe.

At least one other American was injured in the attacks. Helen Jane Wilson told the Associated Press she was shot in the leg and was heading into surgery at L'hopital Saint-Antoine.

Wilson said she lived in New Orleans before moving to Paris, where she runs Rock en Bol, a catering company. According to her Facebook page, Wilson is originally from Los Angeles.

Authorities across Europe moved swiftly Saturday to identify possible accomplices to the seven attackers, with Belgian authorities announcing they had made several arrests.

A spokeswoman for Belgian Justice Minister Koen Geens told reporters that authorities had arrested "several suspects," though it was not clear what connection, if any, they had to the attacks.

Geens said the arrests came after a rental car with Belgian license plates was seen close to the Bataclan, the magazine De Standaard reported.

U.S. law enforcement officials confirmed that several vehicles, particularly black sedans, have been identified in connection with the case, and that at least one traced back to Brussels. One was found laden with high-powered weapons, they said; another had been rented.

The sources confirmed that one of the terrorists appeared to be a Syrian, based on his fingerprints and a Syrian passport found near his body. Several others, the sources said, are believed to have come from Iraq.

Each of the terrorists who blew themselves up was wearing “vests or belts” heavy with detonators and metal fragments, such as “nails and ball-bearings,” the sources said. All of the suicide bombs appeared to have been built in a similar fashion and with identical components. Other terrorists were armed primarily with high-powered Russian-made Kalashnikov AK-47 rifles, they said.

“The French police were aware of at least one of them,” said one of the sources, “and had been following him at times but did not think he was operational.” By that, the source meant that the local authorities did not believe him to be a potential terrorist.

“The others we don’t think were on French police radar,” the source said.

U.S. authorities believe that the suicide blasts during a soccer game at the packed Stade de France, the national stadium just north of Paris, were meant to “send a statement” because the two teams participating -- France and Germany -- are Christian countries and because French President Francois Hollande was attending the match.

“But the killing of hostages at the theater was a slaughter,” said one of the U.S. sources. “It was about a high kill number.”

The Islamic State extremist group appeared to claim responsibility Saturday for the attacks, saying in a statement that "youth who divorced from the world and went to their enemy" had targeted "the hearts of the Crusaders" and unleashed "horror in the middle of their land."

It said the attacks were in retaliation for French airstrikes on Islamic State-controlled territory in the Middle East, and that France would remain at the “top of the list” of its targets.

French officials, including Hollande, have publicly blamed the attacks on Islamic State.

But the U.S. sources said the multiple sites and soft, crowded targets in the attacks are indicative of Al Qaeda rather than Islamic State, but stressed that authorities still are trying to pin down which organization was behind the attacks.

“Who planned this? Who paid for this? That’s what we want,” said one source. “And there is a relationship to Brussels. One of the vehicles came from there.”

The sources also said an arrest last month in Germany may be linked to the Paris attacks. The suspect had a vehicle stocked with explosive devices and other weaponry and may have had a role in the early planning for the attacks, they said.

If Islamic State is behind the attacks, the U.S. officials said, they demonstrate a new widening of that terror group. “They’re moving into the West and transferring guns and people. And this kind of an attack is sobering in its sophistication. One person, OK. But a larger group with simultaneous suicide bombs is a whole new level,” one source said.

French authorities identified one of the dead terrorists as a Frenchman, about 30 years old, who had previously been tracked by authorities in connection with his Islamic radical activities, France Info radio reported.

Hollande has declared a state of emergency and a three-day period of mourning after the worst terrorist attacks in France since World War II.

"Faced with terror, France must be strong, it must be great, and the state authorities must be firm. We will be," he declared in a televised address to the nation Friday.

Public demonstrations in Paris have been banned until Thursday, and French schools, which normally are in session on Saturday mornings, were closed until Monday.

In Vienna, where delegates from across the Middle East and Europe were meeting to discuss a resolution to the long-running war in Syria, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the Paris attacks strengthened their commitment to fight extremism.

"What they do is stiffen our resolve -- all of us -- to fight back, to hold people accountable, and to stand up for rule of law," Kerry said.

He described the attacks as "a kind of medieval and modern fascism, at the same time, which has no regard for life, which seeks to destroy and create chaos and disorder and fear."

Lavrov said he fully agreed with Kerry.

"We have to strongly reiterate there will be no tolerance vis-a-vis terrorists," he said, adding that there will be "no justification for us not doing much more to defeat" violent Islamist groups such as Islamic State and the Nusra front.

Defying both the attackers’ attempt to sow fear and officials’ appeal to stay home, some Parisians were out on the streets Saturday, trying to recapture a bit of the rhythm of ordinary life, though in subdued and somber fashion. Others lined up to donate blood at hospitals, which were overwhelmed by the number of injured who streamed through their doors late Friday night.

Many shops and other businesses -- including Disneyland Paris, one of the city’s top attractions -- remained closed Saturday.

Residents who ventured outside Saturday were joined by 1,500 French troops deployed to reinforce soldiers already stationed in Paris following its last terrorist attack, the slaying of 17 people in January at the headquarters of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and at a kosher supermarket.

The identities of the alleged attackers were either not known or were not being released. Police said all seven assailants were dead.

If the attackers turn out to be French-born, fears of more “homegrown” terrorism -- already fanned by the Charlie Hebdo massacre, whose plotters were French -- will likely increase.

France’s Muslim community braced for a potential backlash. After the Charlie Hebdo attacks, the country saw a spike in acts of anti-Muslim aggression, such as vandalism of mosques. France is home to the highest proportion of Muslims -- 7.5% -- of any country in Western Europe.

Many Parisians posted appeals and photos on social media asking for news of friends or loved ones whom they had not heard from since the attacks. One man said on Twitter that a government hotline set up to inquire about missing persons was so overloaded that calls could not get through.

Well-wishers left flowers at the various attack sites, several of which were blocked off by police.

France Terrorist Attack Leaves One Decapitated at Factory

The New York Times

SAINT-PRIEST, France — A delivery man who had once been under surveillance by the French authorities for connections to radical Islamist groups drove into an American-owned chemical plant near the southeastern city of Lyon on Friday morning, decapitated his employer and set off an explosion in what the French authorities characterized as a terrorist attack.

The interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, identified the suspect, who was apprehended, as Yassine Salhi, who lives in Saint-Priest, a small town outside Lyon.

Security sources had identified Mr. Salhi as having connections to radical Salafists, but surveillance on him was dropped in 2008. The reason was not immediately clear, but French intelligence officials have been overwhelmed in recent years as they try to keep tabs on hundreds of young Muslims who have gone abroad to fight jihad with the Islamic State, which has taken over large areas of Syria and Iraq.

There was no indication that Mr. Salhi was aligned with the Islamic State, but after entering the chemical plant, apparently in an authorized vehicle, he placed the head of his victim atop a gate and hung a flag on either side with the Muslim profession of faith, according to François Molins, the Paris prosecutor investigating the events.

After young Frenchmen who professed allegiance to the Islamic State and Al Qaeda killed 17 people in attacks on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and on a Jewish grocery store in Paris in January, the authorities here and elsewhere in Europe have grown increasingly concerned that citizens who have gone abroad to fight jihad will return to stage attacks, or that Muslims who never left for jihad will be inspired to do so by appeals over the Internet.

The chemical plant was attacked on the same day that terror attacks killed at least 37 people in Tunisia and at least 25 in Kuwait. There was immediate speculation that they were part of coordinated effort, perhaps orchestrated by the Islamic State, to sow mayhem during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Antiterrorism prosecutors in Paris said they had opened an investigation into what they called an “assassination and attempted assassinations in an organized group with a terrorist undertaking.” However, given the work connection between Mr. Salhi and his victim, there may have been several motivations for the attack.

Mr. Molins said four people had been arrested in all: Mr. Salhi, his wife, his sister and another individual.

Mr. Salhi had moved to the area only recently, according to his neighbors and his wife, who was reached by telephone by the television channel Europe 1 before the police detained her. She sounded confused and shocked by the news that her husband had been involved in an attack at the local chemical installation, operated by Air Products.

“What did he want to do in this chemical factory?” she asked, adding that he had gone to work as usual that morning. “We are celebrating Ramadan. We have three children and a normal family life.”

Prime Minister Manuel Valls ordered tightened security and “reinforced vigilance” on “sensitive” sites in the region, which is about 300 miles southeast of Paris.

President François Hollande said Mr. Salhi had tried to use gas canisters to set off an explosion. However, later information from Mr. Molins, the Paris prosecutor, whose staff had interviewed Air Products employees who were present during the attack, left unclear whether Mr. Salhi had a bomb in his car that exploded and destroyed one of the hangars where chemicals were kept on the site. It did not ignite a larger explosion.

Mr. Salhi was caught by firefighters a few minutes later in a second hangar, where he was attempting to open a canister.

Mr. Hollande said, “There is no doubt about the intention, which was to cause an explosion.”

“Everybody remembers what happened in our country, and not just in our country,” he said, referring to the attacks at Charlie Hebdo and the kosher grocery. He said it was important not to “give in to fear” and not to create “useless divisions.”

By evening, four police officers were guarding the apartment building where Mr. Salhi lived while investigators were inside searching for clues. Neighbors who were not allowed to re-enter the building during the search congregated outside and talked about the man they described as reserved but normal.

“Honestly, he seemed like a very normal person. A family man who played with kids out here,” said Abdel Baiya, 53, who works at the Edouard Herriot port nearby, pointing to the patch of grass outside the building.

“In the six months that he has been here, I saw him two, three times,” he added. “He didn’t seem like the kind of guy who wanted to meet lots of new people.”

The Lyon area, like most urban centers in France, is home to a large number of Muslims, with the rector of Lyon’s Grand Mosque saying there are between 150,000 and 200,000 in the urban area and dozens of mosques. While a handful of the mosques practice a Salafist form of Islam, which is strict and fundamentalist, the vast majority do not. Another Muslim official in the area said he could count on one hand the number of Salafist mosques.

Mr. Salhi did not attend a mosque in Saint-Priest, said an official at the local Muslim organization, the Association for Peace for All. Another Muslim official said Mr. Salhi went to the Salafist-leaning mosque at Vénissieux, a town whose Muslim community has been noted having more conservative views as well as some residents who have attempted to go to Syria.

France’s ‘No-Go’ Zones: Where Non-Muslims Dare Not Tread

By: Soeren Kern
Published: August 28th, 2012
The Jewish Express

The French government has announced a plan to boost policing in 15 of the most crime-ridden parts of France in an effort to reassert state control over the country’s so-called “no-go” zones: Muslim-dominated neighborhoods that are largely off limits to non-Muslims.

These crime-infested districts, which the French Interior Ministry has officially designated “Priority Security Zones” (zones de sécurité prioritaires, or ZSP), include heavily Muslim parts of Paris, Marseilles, Strasbourg, Lille and Amiens, where Muslim youths recently went on a two-day arson rampage that caused extensive property damage and injured more than a dozen police officers.

The crackdown on lawlessness in the no-go zones is set to begin in September, when French Interior Minister Manuel Valls plans to deploy riot police, detectives and intelligence agents into the selected areas. The hope is that a “North American-style” war on crime can prevent France’s impoverished suburbs from descending into turmoil.

As of now, 15 initial Priority Security Zones have been designated. If the new policy results in a drop in crime, Valls is expected to name up to 40 more Priority Security Zones before the summer of 2013.

Many of these new Priority Security Zones coincide with Muslim neighborhoods that previous French governments have considered to be Sensitive Urban Zones. (Zones Urbaine Sensibles, or ZUS) – which were also “no-go” zones for French police.

At last count, there were a total of 751 Sensitive Urban Zones, a comprehensive list of which can be found on a French government website, complete with satellite maps and precise street demarcations. An estimated five million Muslims live in these “Sensitive Urban Zones” — parts of France over which the French state has essentially lost control.

Consider Seine-Saint-Denis, a notorious northern suburb of Paris, and home to an estimated 500,000 Muslims. Seine-Saint-Denis is divided into 40 administrative districts called communes, 36 of the 40 districts are on the French government’s official list of “no-go” zones.

Seine-Saint-Denis, also known locally as “Department 93″ for the first two digits of the postal code for this suburb, witnessed fierce rioting by Muslim youths in 2005, when they torched more than 9,000 cars.

The suburb, which has one of the highest rates of violent crime inFrance, is now among the initial 15 ZSPs because of widespread drug dealing and a rampant black market. It also has one of the highest unemployment rates inFrance– 40% of those under the age of 25 are jobless — and it therefore remains unlikely that a government crackdown will succeed in bringing down the crime rate in any permanent way.

ANOTHER EXAMPLE of an official Priority Security Zone is department of La Somme, which includes the northern French city of Amiens. On August 12 and 13, around 100 Muslim youths in the impoverished Fafet-Brossolette district of Amiens went on a rampage after police arrested a man for driving without a license.

Muslims viewed that arrest as “insensitive” because it came as many residents of the neighborhood were attending a funeral for Nadir Hadji, a 20-year-old Algerian youth who had died in a motorcycle accident on August 9. The reality was that police were called to the scene because of reports that youths were loading fireworks into a car. When the police arrived, they also discovered the ingredients for petrol bombs, including empty bottles and a canister of gasoline.

When the riots of August 12-13 broke out, in response, about 150 policemen and anti-riot police were deployed to the Fafet neighborhood where the youths were rioting and used tear gas, rubber bullets and even a helicopter after the youths shot at them with buckshot, fireworks and other projectiles from nine in the evening until four in the morning.

At least 16 police officers were injured in the melee, one seriously. Youths also torched and destroyed a junior high school canteen, an anti-juvenile delinquency sports room, a leisure center, and a kindergarten, as well as 20 automobiles and 50 trash bins. The cost of repair and rebuilding could run up to $7.4 million (€6 million). (Click here for photos from the French publication, L’Express.)

Gilles Demailly, the Socialist mayor of Amiens, said the violence reflected a descent into lawlessness orchestrated by ever younger troublemakers: “There have been regular incidents here but it has been years since we’ve known a night as violent as this with so much damage done. The confrontations were very, very violent.”

Mayor Demailly added, “For months I’ve been asking for the means to alleviate the neighborhood’s problems because tension has been mounting here. You’ve got gangs of youths playing at being gangsters who have turned the area into a no-go zone. You can no longer order a pizza or get a doctor to come to the house.”
The Fafet-Brossolette district of Amiens is home to mostly Muslim immigrants from former French colonies such as Algeria, Cameroon, Gabon, Mali, Morocco and Tunisia. Unemployment in the riot-hit part of Amiens runs at 45%. Among people under 25 years of age, who account for half the population, two out of three are out of work.

Despite the scale of the damage, French police have hesitated to make arrests in fear of sparking more riots. Police did not, in fact, make any arrests until more than three days after the riots ended. A spokesperson for the local police said that four people between the ages of 15 and 30 were arrested in an overnight swoop on August 17 in connection with arson, robbery and trafficking stolen goods. Two of the individuals were immediately tried atAmienscriminal court, but were quickly released on probation.

YET ANOTHER disturbing example of Muslim violence occurred in the southwestern French City of Toulouse, which became infamous among world Jewry due to the shooting of three Jewish students and one teacher at the Ozar HaTorah Yeshiva there in March.  The city’s Bagatelle district remains classified as a Sensitive Urban Zone.

In Toulouse, there have been five days of violence between rival Muslim gangs. Police in the Bagatelle district have characterized the Muslim-on-Muslim violence as “a kind of guerilla war” between two gangs of individuals between the ages of 15 and 20. The violence was apparently due to “the result of a settlement of accounts between drug dealers, as well as because of old resentments exacerbated by boredom and the heat of the month of Ramadan.”

On August 14, two local imams in Bagatelle organized a street march calling on the youths to stop the violence. Local media reports say the residents of the neighborhood know the names of the perpetrators but “nobody dares to speak for fear of reprisals.” According to the deputy imam of Bagatelle, Siali Lahouari, “it looks as if we are inBosniaorAfghanistan, not Mirail [a suburb of Toulouse].”

IN THE SOUTHERN city of Grenoble Muslimyouth went on a rampage in July 2010 after police shot and killed an armed robber, Karim Boudouda, who had led police on a car chase after holding up the Uriage-les-Bains casino, nearGrenoble.

The rioting, which occurred in the suburb of La Villeneuve, started when an imam recited a prayer for the dead robber in the presence of 50 Muslim youths who had gathered in a park. One of the youths fired a gun at riot police who were deployed to the neighborhood; the police then opened fire to disperse the crowd — who then went on to torch 80 cars and several businesses.

The violence even extends to France’s capital,Paris. In August 2009, around 40 Muslim rioters in the Parisian suburb of Bagnolet hurled Molotov cocktails at police and firefighters; torched cars, and one person fired a handgun during a rampage.

The cause of the rampage: the death of an 18-year old deliveryman, who fled a document check by police, lost control of his motorcycle, hit a barrier and died en route to the hospital.

In July 2009, Muslim youths torched more than 300 cars acrossFranceafter the suicide death of an Algerian youth held in police custody on charges of extortion.

In October and November 2005, thousands of Muslim youths inParisand other major cities inFrancewent on a rampage after two young men in theParissuburb of Clichy-sous-Bois were electrocuted when they entered an electric power substation while running away from police. Overall, the riots affected 274 towns and cities acrossFrance, and resulted in more than €200 million in property damage. In response, the French government declared a “three-month state of emergency.”

Originally published by the Gatestone Institute (original article contains links/ references to French sources).

Mohammed Merah (Shootings in Toulouse, France)

The New York Times
March 22, 2012

Mohammed Merah, 23, has been identified as the man suspected in the methodical killings of seven unarmed people in Toulouse, France, over a period of 10 days in March 2012. He died on March 22 when he jumped out a window, firing a weapon, during a raid and shootout that ended a 30-hour standoff with the police.

Mr. Merah was described as a French national of Algerian descent, a former garage mechanic and petty criminal who made two trips to Afghanistan and Pakistan in recent years, and said that he had been trained by Al Qaeda.

Investigators believe the suspect was the motorcyclist behind the killings of three French paratroopers, all of Arab descent, in early March, as well as an attack on March 19 outside a Jewish school that killed a rabbi, two of his young children, and an 8-year-old girl that the gunman held by the hair to execute, pausing to switch to a 9-millimeter gun when his .45 jammed. They believe he was wearing a camera around his neck at the school to record his murders.

While much about Mr. Merah’s past remained unclear or unverified, he seemed to be another example of the kind of homegrown terrorist, with a European nationality and passport, considered a major security threat in a period when Al Qaeda has largely disappeared as a coherent organization.

On March 21, he barricaded himself in a small apartment building in Toulouse as negotiators tried to secure his surrender. He initially indicated to negotiators that he hoped to live, but then said that he wished “to die with weapons in his hands.”

In the first hours of the standoff , he fired several heavy volleys at the hundreds of police officers ringing the building, injuring several, though none seriously. At one point he threw a .45-caliber gun out the window, of the kind used in all the attacks.

The next morning, the police entered the apartment and slowly searched each room using video equipment and fearful of a possible trap. Not finding Mr. Merah in any of the other rooms, they came to the bathroom last. As the police began to inspect the bathroom with the cameras, Mr. Merah burst forth and began firing. More than 300 rounds were discharged during the firefight, and two officers were lightly wounded.

France’s interior minister, Claude Guéant, speaking at the site, said the suspect told negotiators that the attacks were meant to avenge the deaths of Palestinian children and to protest French military deployments abroad.

The suspect had traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan and called himself a mujahedeen, or freedom fighter, and had been under surveillance by the French domestic intelligence service for several years, Mr. Guéant said. He became a suspect after investigators traced an IP address used in connection with the killings of the three paratroopers to the man’s mother.

The authorities said they initially suspected both Mr. Merah and his brother Abdelkader, 29, who was known locally for his radical religious ideology and had been detained for questioning outside Toulouse on Monday.

Explosives were found in Abdelkader’s car two days after the school shootings, the police said, and Mr. Merah was tracked in part because his mother’s computer had been used to make contact with his first victim, a French soldier selling a motorbike online, whom Mr. Merah says he killed on March 11.

Two days after the attack, investigators viewed surveillance tapes from the killings that showed the gunman, with what appeared to be a video camera strapped to his chest, seeming to film his actions as he coolly shot his victims. They also met with a motorcycle dealer who recalled a visit by one brother, which allowed them to identify the two as primary suspects in the case.

They were able to locate the two later that day, he said, and plans were made to arrest them, along with their mother. Investigators were not certain at that point which brother had been the gunman. It was not until Mr. Merah opened fired on the elite police agents sent to capture him that he became the prime suspect.

President Nicolas Sarkozy was scheduled to preside over a funeral service for the three paratroopers in nearby Montauban on March 21, and was visiting their barracks at midday. A fourth paratrooper had been critically wounded; he was black.

The bodies of those killed at the school had been flown overnight to Israel for burial. They were Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, 30, a religious instructor; his two sons, Arye, 6, and Gabriel, 3; and Miriam Monsonego, 8, the daughter of the school’s principal. Rabbi Sandler was a French citizen; the three children had dual French-Israeli nationality.

After the school shootings, the main candidates in the French presidential campaign, including Mr. Sarkozy, suspended their campaigns as political debate swirled around whether the killings were somehow inspired by anti-immigrant rhetoric.

France tries Pakistani man for torching woman

Tue Feb 10, 2009

PARIS, Feb 10 (Reuters) - A Pakistani man went on trial in France on Tuesday for setting his ex-girlfriend alight after she refused to marry him, in a case that rights groups are using as as a symbol of violence against women in poor neighbourhoods.

Amer Mushtaq Butt, 28, doused Chahrazade Belayni in petrol and set fire to her on the street as she was leaving her home in the under-privileged Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Marne in 2005.

She suffered third-degree burns on 60 percent of her body, fell into a coma and underwent many operations. Belayni, now 21, works for the police.

"I want him to pay for what he did, not for my sake but to show other girls who have problems with their partners that it's possible to fight back and the justice system won't abandon them," she told reporters just before the trial opened.

Butt fled to Pakistan after the attack on Belayni but returned to France to hand himself in a year later. He has confessed to the attack and blamed it on an obsession with the young woman. He faces a maximum sentence of life in jail.

At the start of the trial, the court rejected a request from Belayni that the hearings take place behind closed doors, causing her to burst into tears.

Human rights groups such as the prominent "Ni Putes Ni Soumises" ("Neither whores nor submissive women") say violence against women is rife in certain poor communities with high Muslim populations on the outskirts of French cities.

The activists say some young Muslim men take out their frustrations about poverty and discrimination on women, demanding that they cover up according to Islamic tradition. If they refuse, they are considered "whores". (Reporting by Thierry Leveque; Writing by Estelle Shirbon; Editing by Louise Ireland)