France: 14 Held in Plot to Free Transit Bomber

The French police on Tuesday arrested 14 men suspected of plotting a prison break to free an Islamist militant who took part in the Paris transit bombings in 1995. The unidentified men are currently being interrogated  in garde a vue detention by SDAT police forces under the direction of judges Thierry Fragnoli et Edmond Brunaud.

The men are suspected of planning the escape of Smaïn Ali Belkacem, an Algerian sentenced to life in prison in October 2002 for his role in the bombing of the Musée d’Orsay underground train station on Oct. 17, 1995, which left 26 people wounded. Thep olice had intercepted telephone messages between  the suspects. It was one of a series of bombings that ripped through the Paris underground transport network between July and October 1995, leaving eight people dead and dozens wounded. The Armed Islamic Group claimed responsibility, saying it wanted to punish the city for supporting the Algerian government during that country’s civil war.

Last weekend 12 other suspected ‘islamists’ were arrested and placed in garde a vue detention at Levallois-Perret (Hauts-de-Seine).

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