“Islamist literature and Islamic State propaganda was found during the arrests.”
As Christmas approaches, Europe is again in the crosshairs of Islamic terrorism. On Wednesday, French police thwarted a jihadi terror plot to stab people during the Christmas festivities.
The suspects, both aged 23, were planning “to attack people during the Christmas period in shopping centers, universities or in the street,” news reports say. One of the suspects admitted planning to “kill passers-by” and “die as “martyrs,” French newspaper Le Parisien reported.
Reuters confirmed the Islamist motivation behind the terror plot. “Islamist literature and Islamic State propaganda was found during the arrests, which were made close to Paris,” the news agency reported citing French media.
Paris-based TV channel EuroNews reported the foiled jihadi plot:
France has arrested two men on suspicion of planning a “jihadist-inspired” knife attack, judicial sources told AFP.
The attack was reportedly intended to target passers-by “around Christmas time” in shopping centres, universities, or in the street.
Two suspects — both aged 23 — were arrested last Friday and have been placed in pre-trial detention.
During searches, authorities said they seized a knife, mobile phones, and computers containing extremist material, according to French media.
The two men have since been charged with “criminal terrorist association,” a judicial source added.
“At least one of the two had a plan to act by the end of the year,” a source close to the case told AFP.
“We have detected [online] exchanges between them and … that led us to believe that their plan was serious and imminent,” it added.
French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin confirmed the arrests on Twitter and thanked France’s Directorate General of Internal Security (DGSI) for carrying out the operation.
“The terrorist threat remains at a high level in France, we are not letting our guard down,” Darmanin said.
This is not the first time terrorists affiliated with the Islamic State (ISIS) targeted France during Christmas. In 2018, an ISIS-inspired gunman killed four people and injured 12 at the Strasbourg Christmas market.
ISIS is reportedly trying to stage attacks in other European countries as well. ISIS uses social media to “recruit young suicide bombers in bid to carry out Christmas attacks,” the UK daily Sun reported recently.
The UK police are fearful of Islamic terrorist attacks during Christmas. “Police are calling on Christmas shoppers to remain vigilant as armed patrols are stepped up in London following two terror attacks in the space of a month,” the British newspaper Independent reported last month. “The Metropolitan Police, City of London Police and British Transport Police are increasing the number of officers – both armed and unarmed – across the capital over the festive period after the UK’s terrorism threat level was raised to severe last week.”
Since the migrant influx of 2015, the Christmas season has witnessed some of the worst terrorist attacks in Europe. The most deadly terrorist attack took place in 2016 in Germany when a North African migrant and a known ISIS sympathizer drove a truck loaded with steel beams into a Berlin Christmas market, murdering 12 people and injuring 49 others.
UK: “Severe terror warning; Public urged to be extra vigilant this Christmas”
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