terrorism

How the probe into the 2016 massacre in Nice proved the killer was a terrorist

Terrorisme — Investigation

On July 14th 2016, in the French Riviera city of Nice, Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel ran a heavy truck into and over crowds celebrating Bastille Day, taking the lives of 86 people and injuring hundreds of others, before he was shot dead by police. The 31-year-old Tunisian had a history of mental problems and violence, raising the question of whether his act was solely that of a deranged individual. As the trial begins in Paris of eight people accused of helping him prepare the attack, Matthieu Suc details how the judicial investigation established beyond doubt that Lahouaiej-Bouhlel's hideous crime was that of a terrorist, long drawn to jihadism.

The growing fears over France's teenage neo-Nazis

France — Investigation

A number of ultra-right terrorism cases in France in recent years have featured teenagers, a trend that is worrying the French authorities. In many cases youngsters are being recruited by groups from forums linked to online video games. Mediapart here reveals the case of a small ultra-right group whose 16-year-old leader and two associates were recently arrested. Sébastien Bourdon and Matthieu Suc report.

Islamophobia and the shyness of the French Left

France

A number of Muslim organisations in France considered by the government to be linked to radical Islamic movements have been dissolved by decree since the gruesome October 2020 terrorist murder of school teacher Samuel Paty. While some of the dissolutions have been criticised as unjustified and counter to public freedoms, the broad French Left of political parties and civil society stands accused of shying away from an issue that is a political hot potato, instead choosing to observe what the head of one Muslim association called a “deafening silence”.  Mathilde Goanec reports.

The rise of a new terrorist threat in France: the ultra-right

France — Investigation

A report by prosecutors in Paris warns about the return of a terrorist threat from the ultra-right, Mediapart can reveal. Based on an analysis of seven separate investigations into allegations of terrorist conspiracies, the report details the groups' professionalism, their ability to arm themselves and the varied profiles of the activists, some of whom are highly-integrated members of society. Matthieu Suc and Marine Turchi report.  

The 'low intensity' terrorism targeting France

France — Analysis

The attack on a church in the French Riviera city of Nice on Thursday, which left three people dead from knife wounds, was the third in the space of a month in a long series of terrorist attacks in France perpetrated by lone knifemen who have often escaped the attention of intelligence services. In the jargon of those services, they are called attacks of “low intensity”, meaning of little means and organisation, but which have a major impact on public opinion. Matthieu Suc reports.

Beheaded teacher given honours in national tribute at Sorbonne

France — Link

At a ceremony in front of the Sorbonne University in Paris, teacher Samuel Paty, who was murdered  last Friday by an Islamic extremist for showing cartoons of prophet Muhammad to pupils in a class on civic rights, was posthumously awarded France's highest honour for civil merit, the Légion d’Honneur, by President Emmanuel Macron. 

The online radicalisation of terrorist who decapitated teacher near Paris

France — Investigation

A few minutes after the horrific murder of Samuel Paty near Paris, his attacker Abdoullakh Abouyezidovitch A. posted a photo of the history teacher's head on his Twitter account. Mediapart can reveal that at the end of August the 18-year-old Russian-born Chechen had also posted a photomontage of a mock decapitation. It has also emerged that several people had flagged the youth's Twitter account to the authorities in recent months. Matthieu Suc reports.

Macron denounces 'terrorist attack' after teacher who gave freedom of expression lesson is decapitated

France

The murder of 47-year-old history teacher Samuel Paty from near Paris who had shown his class caricatures of the prophet Muhammad as part of a lesson on freedom of expression has been greeted with shock and anger in France. The 18-year-old suspect, believed to be a Russian of Chechen origin, and named later as Abdoullakh Abouyezidovitch A., was later shot dead by police. Eleven people have also been questioned by police as part of an anti-terrorist investigation. President Emmanuel Macron, who visited the scene of the murder at Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, a suburb north-west of Paris, on Friday October 16th said: “One of our compatriots was murdered today because he taught ... his students about freedom of expression, freedom to believe or not believe.”

Terror inquiry after teacher beheaded near Paris

France — Link

The victim in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine was a teacher who is said to have shown caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad to his students.

French interior minister warns of 'extremely high' terror threat

France — Link

Interior minister Gerald Darmanin, speaking during a visit to the headquarters of French domestic intelligence agency on Monday, declared the the risk of terrorist attacks in France 'remains extremely high' and especially from 'terror of Sunni origin', just two days before the trial opens in Paris of 14 people accused of helping the January 15th 2015 terror attacks carried out in the name of the so-called Islamic State group.

Trial next week of suspects in Charlie Hebdo and kosher store killings

France — Link

A total of 14 defendents are to stand trial in Paris beginning next Wednesday on charges related to the murderous January 2015 terrorist shooting attacks in and around the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine, at a kosher supermarket and upon a police officer which together claimed the lives of 17 victims.

New French law restricting movement of released terrorists 'unconstitutional'

France

In a definitive ruling, France’s Constitutional Council has thrown out legislation adopted by parliament late last month which imposed restrictions on the movement of prisoners released after serving sentences for terrorism-related offences. The ruling by the Council, which found the law to be unconstitutional for its infringement of fundamental freedoms, represents a significant blow for both President Emmanuel Macron’s governing LREM party, and in particular for justice minister Éric Dupond-Moretti, a high-profile defence lawyer until his appointment in early July.

French investigators wrap up probe into 2015 Paris attacks

France — Link

Probe into attacks which killed 130 in one day has led to 14 individuals being placed under formal investigation and who could now face trial.   

The spies left out in the cold: the Brexit dilemma for Europe’s intelligence community

International — Investigation

The British and French intelligence agencies are deeply concerned that their close bilateral cooperation, notably on counter-terrorism activity, remains intact after the UK leaves the European Union. But they are fearful of the consequences, especially in the case of a hard Brexit, when, the EU warns, “The UK will be disconnected from all EU networks, information systems and databases” concerned with police and judicial cooperation. Matthieu Suc reports.

Minister says recent arrest foiled 9/11-style attack planned in France

France — Link

French interior minister Christophe Castaner said an individual 'inspired by the events of September 11th and the planes which destroyed the World Trade Center towers' had recently been arrested by intelligence services for planning a similar attack in France.