Mon. Apr 15th, 2024
alert-–-egyptian-suspect,-62,-to-face-trial-after-police-foil-alleged-isis-terror-attack-on-notre-dame-cathedralAlert – Egyptian suspect, 62, to face trial after police foil alleged ISIS terror attack on Notre Dame Cathedral

An Egyptian man with links to ISIS is facing trial in France over a suspected plot to target the Notre Dame Cathedral, according to French media. 

The 62-year-old was arrested on March 5 by officers from the General Directorate of Internal Security (DGSI), with reports at the time suggesting he intended to attack an unspecified church.

The suspect was indicted for ‘criminal terrorist association’ on March 8 and placed in detention ahead of his trial.

It has now been revealed that the site he allegedly intended to target was the major Paris landmark, which has been undergoing restoration since it was partially destroyed by a devastating fire in 2019.

It comes amid heightened concerns over the terror threat in France, with further violent attacks foiled in the last three weeks alone, according to Sunday newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche (JDD).

An Egyptian man with links to ISIS is facing trial in France over a suspected plot to target the Notre Dame Cathedral (pictured with police on patrol outside on March 29, 2024)

An Egyptian man with links to ISIS is facing trial in France over a suspected plot to target the Notre Dame Cathedral (pictured with police on patrol outside on March 29, 2024)

'The terrorist threat is real, it's strong,' French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal (pictured speaking to police officers) said this week

‘The terrorist threat is real, it’s strong,’ French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal (pictured speaking to police officers) said this week

Five individuals who ‘planned to commit violent actions ‘ were arrested in ‘ three separate cases ‘, a police source told JDD.

French media reported last week that a 14-year-old boy had been arrested and indicted on suspicion of planning to attack a shopping centre and his school in Lille, northern France.

The teenager is also suspected of being a supporter of the Islamic State after allegedly viewing IS propaganda and bomb-making videos online, BFMTV reports.

France’s Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, seemingly referred to the alleged plots as he described the recent Islamist terror attacks foiled by French intelligence.

‘We have never foiled so many attacks in France,’ he told broadcaster France 2.

‘The Islamic State is the author of the last eight foiled attacks in France. We foil a lot of attacks, one every two months.’ 

Following last week’s terror attack in Moscow, which IS claimed responsibility for, France and other European countries have stepped up security.

‘The terrorist threat is real, it’s strong,’ French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal told reporters on Monday, adding that two plots by suspected Islamic extremists had already been thwarted this year.

French soldiers patrol near the Eiffel Tower as part of the national security plan 'Vigipirate', in Paris, France, 25 March 2024

French soldiers patrol near the Eiffel Tower as part of the national security plan ‘Vigipirate’, in Paris, France, 25 March 2024

READ MORE: France rolls out mobile security forces for schools ‘experiencing difficulties’ with Islamic extremism after more than 130 received terror threats 

Mr Attal said last week that the country was raising its security alert to the highest level after the Moscow concert hall attack.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the atrocity on March 22, which saw gunmen storm a public event and fire indiscriminately at civilians with automatic weapons, killing at least 143.

Up to 45,000 French police and gendarmes are now set to be deployed each day during the Olympics this summer, while 18,000 troops are also expected to be mobilised, according to government figures.

Another 18,000-22,000 private security guards will be on the ground for the Games, which run from July 26 to August 11.

The latest threats follow a flurry of false bomb alerts targeted schools, airport and tourist sites in autumn 2023.

Good Friday services were conducted outside Notre Dame 'for the last time' this week, with the cathedral set to reopen its doors on December 8 and resume services indoors

Good Friday services were conducted outside Notre Dame ‘for the last time’ this week, with the cathedral set to reopen its doors on December 8 and resume services indoors

The alleged plot against Notre Dame comes ahead of the five-year anniversary of a devastating inferno which gutted the historic cathedral in April 2019.

Good Friday services were conducted outside Notre Dame ‘for the last time’ this week, with the cathedral set to reopen its doors on December 8 and resume services inside.

Dozens of worshippers gathered in front of the central Paris church for the traditional Easter procession, and many are expected to continue to flock to the site throughout the Christian holiday.

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