How Europe has allowed terrorists child's-play access to a devastating arsenal

By , and

The terrorist attacks in Paris last year were back in the headlines this weekend after the arrest in Belgium of Salah Abdeslam, wanted for his part in the November 13th shooting and bombing massacres in the French capital. Those attacks, like the shootings carried out at Charlie Hebdo magazine and a Paris kosher store in January 2015 demonstrate the ease with which terrorists can acquire reactivated weapons, notably from Eastern Europe. In partnership with eight other European media organisations grouped in a collective project, European Investigative Collaborations, Mediapart exposes here how the European Union has turned a blind eye to the trafficking of improperly deactivated military weapons, as illustrated by the history of one such weapon used to murderous effect in Paris. Fabrice Arfi, Karl Laske and Matthieu Suc report.

Reading articles is for subscribers only. Subscribe now.

It was shortly after 1 p.m. on Friday January 9th 2015 when a man wrapped in a black down jacket with a fur-lined hood strolled along the pavement outside the Hyper Cacher kosher store at the Porte de Vincennes on the south-east edge of Paris. While he was walking he attached a GoPro camera on his stomach before coming to a halt beside the entrance to the Jewish shop.