French far-right extremists charged with 'terrorist conspiracy', over Muslim attack plot

French far-right extremists charged with 'terrorist conspiracy', over Muslim attack plot
Ten far-right extremists have been charged by French authorities with 'criminal terrorist conspiracy', over plans to attack Muslims.
2 min read
28 June, 2018
72 anti-Muslim violent acts were recorded last year in France [Getty]
New details have emerged have emerged about the arrest of suspected far-right extremists, charged by French authorities in connection with a suspected plot to attack Muslims, said a judicial source on Thursday.

Prosecutors said nine men and one woman - aged between 32 and 69 - were arrested in raids across France on Saturday.

The suspects were charged with "criminal terrorist conspiracy" and appeared before a judge on Wednesday evening.

Several were also charged with violations of firearms laws and the manufacture or possession of explosive devices.

The ten have been linked to a little known group called Action des Forces Operationnelles - Operational Forces Action - which encourages French people to fight "the enemy within" as the terror group describe Muslims.

The suspects had an "ill-defined plan to commit a violent act targeting people of the Muslim faith", a source close to the investigation told AFP on Monday.

Raids in the Paris area, the Mediterranean island of Corsica and the western Charentes-Maritimes region revealed rifles, handguns and homemade grenades.

In a statement made by prosecutors Wednesday, it found that 36 firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition were seized, as well as items that could be used in the manufacture of TATP explosives found in a suspect's home.

One of the suspects, believed to be the ringleader of the group, is a retired police officer and named Guy S. The group also includes a former soldier.

France remains on high alert after a series of terrorist attacks that have killed more than 240 people since 2015.

Anti-Muslim sentiment is on the rise, and 72 violent acts were recorded last year in France.

Last month, leading Muslim student groups slammed the "hostile environment" created for students in Europe.

It followed attacks by French ministers on Maryam Pougetoux, a student union leader at Paris' Sorbonne University, after she appeared in a documentary wearing a Muslim headscarf.

The statement, signed by student leaders from National Union of Students (NUS), Forum of European Muslim Youth and Student Organisations (FEMYSO), Etudiants Musulmans de France (EMF) and the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS), described the incident as "indicative of the experiences of hundreds of Muslim student leaders across Europe".