French Police Foil Plot to Bomb Louvre, Eiffel Tower
French police announced Wednesday that an extensive investigation into an Algerian butcher in southern France revealed a plot involving Al Qaeda to bomb notable landmarks in the French capital, including the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, as well as nuclear power plants.
The UK Telegraph reports that the French government is unveiling new, stricter rules to combat terrorism in the nation, and in doing so, revealed details of the plans of a 29-year-old Algerian living in southern France to practice jihad through terrorist acts on highly populated tourist and civilian areas. The man, whom the police referred to as "Ali M," had established communications with someone who alleged to be tied to the Al Qaeda offshoot Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the North African affiliate of the international terrorist organization.
In response to the man's asking Ali M for ideas on how to commit acts of jihad in France, police said that Ali M replied with a list of potential targets, including "nuclear power plants, 'planes at the moment of take-off,' and a string of French landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre museum in Paris."
According to Fox News, Ali M was planning to travel to Tunisia and Algeria for terrorist training before French police arrested him. None of his ideas had materialized into full plots, as Ali M was to revisit his ideas in light of having been trained in building bombs and using weapons. French anti-terror judge Marc Trevidic told the media that Ali M's example was a sign that "there are doubtless others on our soil programmed to harm French interests” and that the French authorities needed to act to diminish the threat. Authorities are reshaping their tactics to fight the terrorist threat in light of these discoveries.
Like many European countries, France is experiencing a surge of radical Islam within the Muslim population living there. According to one estimate, 13,000 Salafists were living in France among the Muslim population in 2013. In June, French authorities arrested five individuals involved in the shooting of a Jewish museum in Brussels, Belgium. Still others were arrested for allegedly organizing trips for jihadists out of France and to the warfronts in Syria, to assist jihadist groups in fighting against President Bashar al-Assad.