Muslim Hate in France
Paris terror attacks were plotted by a small extremist cell in Brussels, investigators suspect
By:Richard A. Serrano, Henry Chu and Joe Mozingo
The Los Angeles Times
Friday night’s terror attacks in Paris apparently began with a small extremist cell in Brussels, where French authorities believe the attacks were planned and the operation financed, according to two U.S. law enforcement officials who have been advised about the ongoing French probe.
sources, speaking confidentially because the investigation is just
underway, also emphasized that the attackers probably had a substantial
understanding of the history and culture of France -- Paris in
particular -- and said it was “highly possible” some had lived in the
the sources said, was evident in how they seamlessly moved about the
vast metropolis and set up coordinated attacks at six targets across
the city -- from a stadium to a theater to a restaurant.
prosecutor Francois Molins said three teams of terrorists, carrying
AK-47 assault rifles and wearing explosive vests with identical
detonators, appeared to have coordinated the attacks that killed 129
people and injured 352 across a swath of central Paris.
Nineteen people were gunned down at a sidewalk cafe, and more were killed in at least five more attacks in a vibrant area not far from the Place de la Bastille.
terrorists struck the Bataclan concert hall, survivors described a
horrifying shooting gallery. With little cover, concert-goers scrambled
for exits or laid low to escape up to 10 minutes of withering fire from
A journalist who works for the French newspaper Le Monde captured a portion of the grisly scene on video.
The reporter, Daniel Psenny, who lives behind the theater, had a vantage point above one of the emergency exits.
nearly three-minute video shows terrified concert-goers running out of
the theater as gunshots ring out. They can be seen running around at
least one body lying on the ground just outside the exit, and several
people drag apparently injured victims down the alley away from the
injured person hopped down the alley, which was stained with blood.
Multiple people appeared to be hanging onto the side of the building in
an apparent attempt to escape the upper floors.
Psenny told his newspaper that he opened the door to his apartment building to allow victims in, and was shot in the arm.
A young man named Louis was in the audience at the Bataclan with his mother when the gunfire erupted.
“These guys arrived, and they started shooting from near the entrance,” he told France Info radio shortly after the attack.
Louis’ sobbing grew more intense as he continued: “They were shooting straight into the crowd, screaming `Allah Akbar.’”
“I heard them reloading. The concert stopped. Everybody was lying on the ground. They kept shooting people. It was hell.”
who was speaking by mobile phone from a car as he and his mother were
leaving the scene, apologized for crying. The France Info anchor told
him it was OK under the circumstances and asked him to keep speaking.
got my mother. We were lying on the ground. Someone said, 'They’re
gone.' We got out through an emergency exit. The gunshots kept going as
we were leaving. We were stepping over bodies. It was a nightmare.”
“We avoided getting shot,” he said. “There were people everywhere on the ground.”
said 89 people died at the Bataclan. He said the attackers mentioned
Syria and Iraq as they fired. When police entered the building, two of
the terrorists detonated their suicide vests and one was shot to death
by authorities, he said.
“We are determined to find out who were the attackers, who were the accomplices,” he said. “How they were financed.”
of the terrorists who took hostages was a 29-year-old man who has been
arrested eight times for “acts against the common good,” but had not
been linked to terrorists, Molins said.
second Frenchman was stopped and questioned at the Belgian border. He
had rented a black Volkswagen Polo driven by a man believed to be one
of the gunmen who attacked concertgoers at the Bataclan, the prosecutor
were still looking for a black Seat car believed to have been used
during the attacks on several sidewalk cafes, he said.
One of the victims was a 23-year-old design student at Cal State Long Beach.
Gonzalez, of El Monte, was part of an international exchange program at
the Strate School of Design, according to a statement translated from
French and posted on social media by the school’s dean, Dominique
was a “kind, thoughtful, generous and talented student, dear to all who
knew her,” Michael LaForte, a lecturer at Cal State Long Beach’s
department of design, wrote on Facebook. “We grieve for her today and
give our hearts to her grieving family and boyfriend.”
LaForte said three other Cal State Long Beach students were in Paris with Gonzalez and are safe.
least one other American was injured in the attacks. Helen Jane Wilson
told the Associated Press she was shot in the leg and was heading into
surgery at L'hopital Saint-Antoine.
said she lived in New Orleans before moving to Paris, where she runs
Rock en Bol, a catering company. According to her Facebook page, Wilson
is originally from Los Angeles.
across Europe moved swiftly Saturday to identify possible accomplices
to the seven attackers, with Belgian authorities announcing they had
made several arrests.
spokeswoman for Belgian Justice Minister Koen Geens told reporters that
authorities had arrested "several suspects," though it was not clear
what connection, if any, they had to the attacks.
said the arrests came after a rental car with Belgian license plates
was seen close to the Bataclan, the magazine De Standaard reported.
law enforcement officials confirmed that several vehicles, particularly
black sedans, have been identified in connection with the case, and
that at least one traced back to Brussels. One was found laden with
high-powered weapons, they said; another had been rented.
sources confirmed that one of the terrorists appeared to be a Syrian,
based on his fingerprints and a Syrian passport found near his body.
Several others, the sources said, are believed to have come from Iraq.
of the terrorists who blew themselves up was wearing “vests or belts”
heavy with detonators and metal fragments, such as “nails and
ball-bearings,” the sources said. All of the suicide bombs appeared to
have been built in a similar fashion and with identical components.
Other terrorists were armed primarily with high-powered Russian-made
Kalashnikov AK-47 rifles, they said.
French police were aware of at least one of them,” said one of the
sources, “and had been following him at times but did not think he was
operational.” By that, the source meant that the local authorities did
not believe him to be a potential terrorist.
“The others we don’t think were on French police radar,” the source said.
authorities believe that the suicide blasts during a soccer game at the
packed Stade de France, the national stadium just north of Paris, were
meant to “send a statement” because the two teams participating --
France and Germany -- are Christian countries and because French
President Francois Hollande was attending the match.
“But the killing of hostages at the theater was a slaughter,” said one of the U.S. sources. “It was about a high kill number.”
Islamic State extremist group appeared to claim responsibility Saturday
for the attacks, saying in a statement that "youth who divorced from
the world and went to their enemy" had targeted "the hearts of the
Crusaders" and unleashed "horror in the middle of their land."
said the attacks were in retaliation for French airstrikes on Islamic
State-controlled territory in the Middle East, and that France would
remain at the “top of the list” of its targets.
French officials, including Hollande, have publicly blamed the attacks on Islamic State.
the U.S. sources said the multiple sites and soft, crowded targets in
the attacks are indicative of Al Qaeda rather than Islamic State, but
stressed that authorities still are trying to pin down which
organization was behind the attacks.
planned this? Who paid for this? That’s what we want,” said one source.
“And there is a relationship to Brussels. One of the vehicles came from
sources also said an arrest last month in Germany may be linked to the
Paris attacks. The suspect had a vehicle stocked with explosive devices
and other weaponry and may have had a role in the early planning for
the attacks, they said.
Islamic State is behind the attacks, the U.S. officials said, they
demonstrate a new widening of that terror group. “They’re moving into
the West and transferring guns and people. And this kind of an attack
is sobering in its sophistication. One person, OK. But a larger group
with simultaneous suicide bombs is a whole new level,” one source said.
authorities identified one of the dead terrorists as a Frenchman, about
30 years old, who had previously been tracked by authorities in
connection with his Islamic radical activities, France Info radio
has declared a state of emergency and a three-day period of mourning
after the worst terrorist attacks in France since World War II.
with terror, France must be strong, it must be great, and the state
authorities must be firm. We will be," he declared in a televised
address to the nation Friday.
demonstrations in Paris have been banned until Thursday, and French
schools, which normally are in session on Saturday mornings, were
closed until Monday.
Vienna, where delegates from across the Middle East and Europe were
meeting to discuss a resolution to the long-running war in Syria, U.S.
Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei
Lavrov said the Paris attacks strengthened their commitment to fight
they do is stiffen our resolve -- all of us -- to fight back, to hold
people accountable, and to stand up for rule of law," Kerry said.
described the attacks as "a kind of medieval and modern fascism, at the
same time, which has no regard for life, which seeks to destroy and
create chaos and disorder and fear."
Lavrov said he fully agreed with Kerry.
have to strongly reiterate there will be no tolerance vis-a-vis
terrorists," he said, adding that there will be "no justification for
us not doing much more to defeat" violent Islamist groups such as
Islamic State and the Nusra front.
both the attackers’ attempt to sow fear and officials’ appeal to stay
home, some Parisians were out on the streets Saturday, trying to
recapture a bit of the rhythm of ordinary life, though in subdued and
somber fashion. Others lined up to donate blood at hospitals, which
were overwhelmed by the number of injured who streamed through their
doors late Friday night.
Many shops and other businesses -- including Disneyland Paris, one of the city’s top attractions -- remained closed Saturday.
who ventured outside Saturday were joined by 1,500 French troops
deployed to reinforce soldiers already stationed in Paris following its
last terrorist attack, the slaying of 17 people in January at the
headquarters of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and at a kosher
identities of the alleged attackers were either not known or were not
being released. Police said all seven assailants were dead.
the attackers turn out to be French-born, fears of more “homegrown”
terrorism -- already fanned by the Charlie Hebdo massacre, whose
plotters were French -- will likely increase.
Muslim community braced for a potential backlash. After the Charlie
Hebdo attacks, the country saw a spike in acts of anti-Muslim
aggression, such as vandalism of mosques. France is home to the highest
proportion of Muslims -- 7.5% -- of any country in Western Europe.
Parisians posted appeals and photos on social media asking for news of
friends or loved ones whom they had not heard from since the attacks.
One man said on Twitter that a government hotline set up to inquire
about missing persons was so overloaded that calls could not get
Well-wishers left flowers at the various attack sites, several of which were blocked off by police.
France Terrorist Attack Leaves One Decapitated at Factory
By AURELIEN BREEDEN and ALISSA J. RUBINJUNE 26, 2015
The New York Times
SAINT-PRIEST, France — A delivery man who had once been under surveillance by the French authorities for connections to radical Islamist groups drove into an American-owned chemical plant near the southeastern city of Lyon on Friday morning, decapitated his employer and set off an explosion in what the French authorities characterized as a terrorist attack.
The interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, identified the suspect, who was apprehended, as Yassine Salhi, who lives in Saint-Priest, a small town outside Lyon.
Security sources had identified Mr. Salhi as having connections to radical Salafists, but surveillance on him was dropped in 2008. The reason was not immediately clear, but French intelligence officials have been overwhelmed in recent years as they try to keep tabs on hundreds of young Muslims who have gone abroad to fight jihad with the Islamic State, which has taken over large areas of Syria and Iraq.
There was no indication that Mr. Salhi was aligned with the Islamic State, but after entering the chemical plant, apparently in an authorized vehicle, he placed the head of his victim atop a gate and hung a flag on either side with the Muslim profession of faith, according to François Molins, the Paris prosecutor investigating the events.
After young Frenchmen who professed allegiance to the Islamic State and Al Qaeda killed 17 people in attacks on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and on a Jewish grocery store in Paris in January, the authorities here and elsewhere in Europe have grown increasingly concerned that citizens who have gone abroad to fight jihad will return to stage attacks, or that Muslims who never left for jihad will be inspired to do so by appeals over the Internet.
The chemical plant was attacked on the same day that terror attacks killed at least 37 people in Tunisia and at least 25 in Kuwait. There was immediate speculation that they were part of coordinated effort, perhaps orchestrated by the Islamic State, to sow mayhem during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
Antiterrorism prosecutors in Paris said they had opened an investigation into what they called an “assassination and attempted assassinations in an organized group with a terrorist undertaking.” However, given the work connection between Mr. Salhi and his victim, there may have been several motivations for the attack.
Mr. Molins said four people had been arrested in all: Mr. Salhi, his wife, his sister and another individual.
Mr. Salhi had moved to the area only recently, according to his neighbors and his wife, who was reached by telephone by the television channel Europe 1 before the police detained her. She sounded confused and shocked by the news that her husband had been involved in an attack at the local chemical installation, operated by Air Products.
“What did he want to do in this chemical factory?” she asked, adding that he had gone to work as usual that morning. “We are celebrating Ramadan. We have three children and a normal family life.”
Prime Minister Manuel Valls ordered tightened security and “reinforced vigilance” on “sensitive” sites in the region, which is about 300 miles southeast of Paris.
President François Hollande said Mr. Salhi had tried to use gas canisters to set off an explosion. However, later information from Mr. Molins, the Paris prosecutor, whose staff had interviewed Air Products employees who were present during the attack, left unclear whether Mr. Salhi had a bomb in his car that exploded and destroyed one of the hangars where chemicals were kept on the site. It did not ignite a larger explosion.
Mr. Salhi was caught by firefighters a few minutes later in a second hangar, where he was attempting to open a canister.
Mr. Hollande said, “There is no doubt about the intention, which was to cause an explosion.”
“Everybody remembers what happened in our country, and not just in our country,” he said, referring to the attacks at Charlie Hebdo and the kosher grocery. He said it was important not to “give in to fear” and not to create “useless divisions.”
By evening, four police officers were guarding the apartment building where Mr. Salhi lived while investigators were inside searching for clues. Neighbors who were not allowed to re-enter the building during the search congregated outside and talked about the man they described as reserved but normal.
“Honestly, he seemed like a very normal person. A family man who played with kids out here,” said Abdel Baiya, 53, who works at the Edouard Herriot port nearby, pointing to the patch of grass outside the building.
“In the six months that he has been here, I saw him two, three times,” he added. “He didn’t seem like the kind of guy who wanted to meet lots of new people.”
The Lyon area, like most urban centers in France, is home to a large number of Muslims, with the rector of Lyon’s Grand Mosque saying there are between 150,000 and 200,000 in the urban area and dozens of mosques. While a handful of the mosques practice a Salafist form of Islam, which is strict and fundamentalist, the vast majority do not. Another Muslim official in the area said he could count on one hand the number of Salafist mosques.
Mr. Salhi did not attend a mosque in Saint-Priest, said an official at the local Muslim organization, the Association for Peace for All. Another Muslim official said Mr. Salhi went to the Salafist-leaning mosque at Vénissieux, a town whose Muslim community has been noted having more conservative views as well as some residents who have attempted to go to Syria.
France’s ‘No-Go’ Zones: Where Non-Muslims Dare Not Tread
By: Soeren Kern
Published: August 28th, 2012
The Jewish Express
The French government has announced a plan to boost policing in 15 of the most crime-ridden parts of France in an effort to reassert state control over the country’s so-called “no-go” zones: Muslim-dominated neighborhoods that are largely off limits to non-Muslims.
These crime-infested districts, which the French Interior Ministry has officially designated “Priority Security Zones” (zones de sécurité prioritaires, or ZSP), include heavily Muslim parts of Paris, Marseilles, Strasbourg, Lille and Amiens, where Muslim youths recently went on a two-day arson rampage that caused extensive property damage and injured more than a dozen police officers.
The crackdown on lawlessness in the no-go zones is set to begin in September, when French Interior Minister Manuel Valls plans to deploy riot police, detectives and intelligence agents into the selected areas. The hope is that a “North American-style” war on crime can prevent France’s impoverished suburbs from descending into turmoil.
As of now, 15 initial Priority Security Zones have been designated. If the new policy results in a drop in crime, Valls is expected to name up to 40 more Priority Security Zones before the summer of 2013.
Many of these new Priority Security Zones coincide with Muslim neighborhoods that previous French governments have considered to be Sensitive Urban Zones. (Zones Urbaine Sensibles, or ZUS) – which were also “no-go” zones for French police.
last count, there were a total of 751 Sensitive Urban Zones, a
comprehensive list of which can be found on a French government
website, complete with satellite maps and precise street demarcations.
An estimated five million Muslims live in these “Sensitive Urban Zones”
— parts of France over which the French state has essentially lost
Consider Seine-Saint-Denis, a notorious northern suburb of Paris, and home to an estimated 500,000 Muslims. Seine-Saint-Denis is divided into 40 administrative districts called communes, 36 of the 40 districts are on the French government’s official list of “no-go” zones.
Seine-Saint-Denis, also known locally as “Department 93″ for the first two digits of the postal code for this suburb, witnessed fierce rioting by Muslim youths in 2005, when they torched more than 9,000 cars.
The suburb, which has one of the highest rates of violent crime inFrance, is now among the initial 15 ZSPs because of widespread drug dealing and a rampant black market. It also has one of the highest unemployment rates inFrance– 40% of those under the age of 25 are jobless — and it therefore remains unlikely that a government crackdown will succeed in bringing down the crime rate in any permanent way.
ANOTHER EXAMPLE of an official Priority Security Zone is department of La Somme, which includes the northern French city of Amiens. On August 12 and 13, around 100 Muslim youths in the impoverished Fafet-Brossolette district of Amiens went on a rampage after police arrested a man for driving without a license.
viewed that arrest as “insensitive” because it came as many residents
of the neighborhood were attending a funeral for Nadir Hadji, a
20-year-old Algerian youth who had died in a motorcycle accident on
August 9. The reality was that police were called to the scene because
of reports that youths were loading fireworks into a car. When the
police arrived, they also discovered the ingredients for petrol bombs,
including empty bottles and a canister of gasoline.
When the riots of August 12-13 broke out, in response, about 150 policemen and anti-riot police were deployed to the Fafet neighborhood where the youths were rioting and used tear gas, rubber bullets and even a helicopter after the youths shot at them with buckshot, fireworks and other projectiles from nine in the evening until four in the morning.
At least 16 police officers were injured in the melee, one seriously. Youths also torched and destroyed a junior high school canteen, an anti-juvenile delinquency sports room, a leisure center, and a kindergarten, as well as 20 automobiles and 50 trash bins. The cost of repair and rebuilding could run up to $7.4 million (€6 million). (Click here for photos from the French publication, L’Express.)
Demailly, the Socialist mayor of Amiens, said the violence reflected a
descent into lawlessness orchestrated by ever younger troublemakers:
“There have been regular incidents here but it has been years since
we’ve known a night as violent as this with so much damage done. The
confrontations were very, very violent.”
Mayor Demailly added, “For months I’ve been asking for the means to alleviate the neighborhood’s problems because tension has been mounting here. You’ve got gangs of youths playing at being gangsters who have turned the area into a no-go zone. You can no longer order a pizza or get a doctor to come to the house.”
The Fafet-Brossolette district of Amiens is home to mostly Muslim immigrants from former French colonies such as Algeria, Cameroon, Gabon, Mali, Morocco and Tunisia. Unemployment in the riot-hit part of Amiens runs at 45%. Among people under 25 years of age, who account for half the population, two out of three are out of work.
Despite the scale of the damage, French police have hesitated to make arrests in fear of sparking more riots. Police did not, in fact, make any arrests until more than three days after the riots ended. A spokesperson for the local police said that four people between the ages of 15 and 30 were arrested in an overnight swoop on August 17 in connection with arson, robbery and trafficking stolen goods. Two of the individuals were immediately tried atAmienscriminal court, but were quickly released on probation.
ANOTHER disturbing example of Muslim violence occurred in the
southwestern French City of Toulouse, which became infamous among world
Jewry due to the shooting of three Jewish students and one teacher at
the Ozar HaTorah Yeshiva there in March. The city’s Bagatelle
district remains classified as a Sensitive Urban Zone.
In Toulouse, there have been five days of violence between rival Muslim gangs. Police in the Bagatelle district have characterized the Muslim-on-Muslim violence as “a kind of guerilla war” between two gangs of individuals between the ages of 15 and 20. The violence was apparently due to “the result of a settlement of accounts between drug dealers, as well as because of old resentments exacerbated by boredom and the heat of the month of Ramadan.”
On August 14, two local imams in Bagatelle organized a street march calling on the youths to stop the violence. Local media reports say the residents of the neighborhood know the names of the perpetrators but “nobody dares to speak for fear of reprisals.” According to the deputy imam of Bagatelle, Siali Lahouari, “it looks as if we are inBosniaorAfghanistan, not Mirail [a suburb of Toulouse].”
IN THE SOUTHERN city of Grenoble Muslimyouth went on a rampage in July 2010 after police shot and killed an armed robber, Karim Boudouda, who had led police on a car chase after holding up the Uriage-les-Bains casino, nearGrenoble.
The rioting, which occurred in the suburb of La Villeneuve, started when an imam recited a prayer for the dead robber in the presence of 50 Muslim youths who had gathered in a park. One of the youths fired a gun at riot police who were deployed to the neighborhood; the police then opened fire to disperse the crowd — who then went on to torch 80 cars and several businesses.
The violence even extends to France’s capital,Paris. In August 2009, around 40 Muslim rioters in the Parisian suburb of Bagnolet hurled Molotov cocktails at police and firefighters; torched cars, and one person fired a handgun during a rampage.
cause of the rampage: the death of an 18-year old deliveryman, who fled
a document check by police, lost control of his motorcycle, hit a
barrier and died en route to the hospital.
In July 2009, Muslim youths torched more than 300 cars acrossFranceafter the suicide death of an Algerian youth held in police custody on charges of extortion.
In October and November 2005, thousands of Muslim youths inParisand other major cities inFrancewent on a rampage after two young men in theParissuburb of Clichy-sous-Bois were electrocuted when they entered an electric power substation while running away from police. Overall, the riots affected 274 towns and cities acrossFrance, and resulted in more than €200 million in property damage. In response, the French government declared a “three-month state of emergency.”
Originally published by the Gatestone Institute (original article contains links/ references to French sources).
Mohammed Merah (Shootings in Toulouse, France)
The New York Times
March 22, 2012
Mohammed Merah, 23, has been identified as the man suspected in the methodical killings of seven unarmed people in Toulouse, France, over a period of 10 days in March 2012. He died on March 22 when he jumped out a window, firing a weapon, during a raid and shootout that ended a 30-hour standoff with the police.
Mr. Merah was described as a French national of Algerian descent, a former garage mechanic and petty criminal who made two trips to Afghanistan and Pakistan in recent years, and said that he had been trained by Al Qaeda.
Investigators believe the suspect was the motorcyclist behind the killings of three French paratroopers, all of Arab descent, in early March, as well as an attack on March 19 outside a Jewish school that killed a rabbi, two of his young children, and an 8-year-old girl that the gunman held by the hair to execute, pausing to switch to a 9-millimeter gun when his .45 jammed. They believe he was wearing a camera around his neck at the school to record his murders.
While much about Mr. Merah’s past remained unclear or unverified, he seemed to be another example of the kind of homegrown terrorist, with a European nationality and passport, considered a major security threat in a period when Al Qaeda has largely disappeared as a coherent organization.
On March 21, he barricaded himself in a small apartment building in Toulouse as negotiators tried to secure his surrender. He initially indicated to negotiators that he hoped to live, but then said that he wished “to die with weapons in his hands.”
In the first hours of the standoff , he fired several heavy volleys at the hundreds of police officers ringing the building, injuring several, though none seriously. At one point he threw a .45-caliber gun out the window, of the kind used in all the attacks.
The next morning, the police entered the apartment and slowly searched each room using video equipment and fearful of a possible trap. Not finding Mr. Merah in any of the other rooms, they came to the bathroom last. As the police began to inspect the bathroom with the cameras, Mr. Merah burst forth and began firing. More than 300 rounds were discharged during the firefight, and two officers were lightly wounded.
interior minister, Claude Guéant, speaking at the site, said the
suspect told negotiators that the attacks were meant to avenge the
deaths of Palestinian children and to protest French military
The suspect had traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan and called himself a mujahedeen, or freedom fighter, and had been under surveillance by the French domestic intelligence service for several years, Mr. Guéant said. He became a suspect after investigators traced an IP address used in connection with the killings of the three paratroopers to the man’s mother.
The authorities said they initially suspected both Mr. Merah and his brother Abdelkader, 29, who was known locally for his radical religious ideology and had been detained for questioning outside Toulouse on Monday.
Explosives were found in Abdelkader’s car two days after the school shootings, the police said, and Mr. Merah was tracked in part because his mother’s computer had been used to make contact with his first victim, a French soldier selling a motorbike online, whom Mr. Merah says he killed on March 11.
Two days after the attack, investigators viewed surveillance tapes from the killings that showed the gunman, with what appeared to be a video camera strapped to his chest, seeming to film his actions as he coolly shot his victims. They also met with a motorcycle dealer who recalled a visit by one brother, which allowed them to identify the two as primary suspects in the case.
They were able to locate the two later that day, he said, and plans were made to arrest them, along with their mother. Investigators were not certain at that point which brother had been the gunman. It was not until Mr. Merah opened fired on the elite police agents sent to capture him that he became the prime suspect.
President Nicolas Sarkozy was scheduled to preside over a funeral service for the three paratroopers in nearby Montauban on March 21, and was visiting their barracks at midday. A fourth paratrooper had been critically wounded; he was black.
The bodies of those killed at the school had been flown overnight to Israel for burial. They were Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, 30, a religious instructor; his two sons, Arye, 6, and Gabriel, 3; and Miriam Monsonego, 8, the daughter of the school’s principal. Rabbi Sandler was a French citizen; the three children had dual French-Israeli nationality.
After the school shootings, the main candidates in the French presidential campaign, including Mr. Sarkozy, suspended their campaigns as political debate swirled around whether the killings were somehow inspired by anti-immigrant rhetoric.
France tries Pakistani man for torching woman
Tue Feb 10, 2009
PARIS, Feb 10 (Reuters)
- A Pakistani man went on trial in France on Tuesday for setting his
ex-girlfriend alight after she refused to marry him, in a case that rights
groups are using as as a symbol of violence against women in poor neighbourhoods.
Amer Mushtaq Butt, 28, doused Chahrazade Belayni in petrol and set fire to her on the street as she was leaving her home in the under-privileged Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Marne in 2005.
She suffered third-degree burns on 60 percent of her body, fell into a coma and underwent many operations. Belayni, now 21, works for the police.
"I want him to pay for what he did, not for my sake but to show other girls who have problems with their partners that it's possible to fight back and the justice system won't abandon them," she told reporters just before the trial opened.
Butt fled to Pakistan after the attack on Belayni but returned to France to hand himself in a year later. He has confessed to the attack and blamed it on an obsession with the young woman. He faces a maximum sentence of life in jail.
At the start of the trial, the court rejected a request from Belayni that the hearings take place behind closed doors, causing her to burst into tears.
Human rights groups such as the prominent "Ni Putes Ni Soumises" ("Neither whores nor submissive women") say violence against women is rife in certain poor communities with high Muslim populations on the outskirts of French cities.
The activists say some young Muslim men take out their frustrations about poverty and discrimination on women, demanding that they cover up according to Islamic tradition. If they refuse, they are considered "whores". (Reporting by Thierry Leveque; Writing by Estelle Shirbon; Editing by Louise Ireland)
WORD FAITH INDEX
CATHOLIC CHURCH INDEX