Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Attempted Five-day Presidential Attack


End of the campaign under threat: the arrest of two men suspected of preparing an "imminent" jihadist attack in France was, of course, the front page of the French press Wednesday, five days of the first round of a totally unpredictable presidential election.


While President Francois Hollande hailed a remarkable catch, terrorism was therefore invited in the final stretch of the campaign for the election of his successor, as the title of the daily Liberation explains.

The two suspects, of French nationality, Clement Baur, 23, and Mahiedine Merabet, 29, had already been incarcerated for acts without terrorist character, said a source close to the file.
The police seized in the apartment occupied by the two men in Marseille (south) three kilos of TATP, a craft explosive prized by the jihadists, a hand grenade, several firearms including a machine gun, bags of ammunition and Flag of the Islamic State (EI) group, said the prosecutor of the Republic of Paris, in charge of terrorism, Francois Molins.

These "two suspicious and determined individuals" were preparing for "violent action, imminently on French territory, without being able to determine with precision the day or target (s) targeted."

Risk 'higher than ever


The police seized in the apartment occupied by the two men in Marseille (south) three kilos of TATP, a craft explosive prized by the jihadists, a hand grenade, several firearms including a machine gun, bags of ammunition and Flag of the Islamic State (EI) group, said the prosecutor of the Republic of Paris, in charge of terrorism, François Molins.
These "two suspicious and determined individuals" were preparing for "violent action, imminently on French territory, without being able to determine with precision the day or target (s) targeted."

For the daily Le Figaro (right), however, it would be Francois Fillon, the candidate of the party Republicans (right), who would be "the most hated by the jihadists".

Mahiedine Merabet sought to contact the IE, in particular, to transmit "a video of allegiance or claim", revealed the prosecutor.

He said that a video intercepted on 12 April last showed a table on which is laid an UZI type machine gun, "the black flag of the Islamic State", "dozens of ammunition arranged to" To write + the law of talion + "and" the headlines of a daily newspaper "Le Monde dated March 16, 2017" with on the cover a candidate in the presidential election, in this case, François Fillon.

The security officials of several candidates were also warned last week of the dangerousness of the two men, whose photos had been distributed.

In the entourage of extreme right-wing candidate Marine Le Pen, it was stressed that "the fact that the two individuals were arrested in Marseille while Marine Le Pen is holding a meeting on Wednesday is perhaps not a coincidence".

"The terrorist risk is higher than ever," Interior Minister Matthias Fekl said after the arrest of two men. "Everything is being done to ensure the security of this major rendezvous," he said, "which is the presidential election of 23 April and 7 May.
France has been hit since 2015 by a series of jihadist attacks which have killed 238 people and about 20 attempted attacks have been foiled since early 2016, the government said.


'Never seen'


More than 50,000 policemen and soldiers will be mobilized to ensure the security of the vote, whose first round promises to be tight between four candidates.

The accusations of fictitious jobs against Francois Fillon but also of Marine Le Pen, the irruption of the young "progressive, neither of the right nor of the left" Emmanuel Macron and the charism of the tribune of the radical left Jean-Luc Mélenchon Have created vagueness among the voters, nearly 30% of whom say they are still unable to choose.

"In almost all the presidential elections, the poster of the second round was known in February, March. There is a real uncertainty", underlines Frederic Dabi, of the Institute of sounding Ifop.

"A match with four, with a very strong tightening of the four candidates between 19 and 23%, is unheard of," he insists.

In this context, the candidates redouble their efforts to convince the undecided and those who would be tempted to abstain.

The major fact is the behavior of the abstentionists, much more numerous than in previous elections, notes Frédéric Dabi. "We were 20% in 2012, 18% in 2007, there we would be around 30%".

Wednesday, Marine Le Pen will be meeting in Marseille, centrist Emmanuel Macron will travel to Nantes (west) and former prime minister Francois Fillon will appear in Paris, alongside his former rival Alain Juppé, also a former leader of the government.

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