France begins trial for Euro 2016 attack plot suspects

France begins trial for Euro 2016 attack plot suspects
2 min read
Seven suspected terrorists on trial in Paris after being arrested on the eve of the Euro 2016 competition
Police discovered AK-47 assault rifles and handguns in an apartment rented by Reda Kriket [GETTY]
Seven suspected members of a French terror cell arrested after a massive weapons haul on the eve of the Euro 2016 football tournament go on trial on Monday in Paris.

Police discovered AK-47 assault rifles and handguns in March 2016 in an apartment in a Paris suburb rented by Reda Kriket, a 39-year-old suspected Islamist, along with the same type of explosive used during deadly attacks in Paris in November 2015.

Kriket, who had been linked to the suspected ringleader of the Paris attacks and had been under surveillance for weeks, was arrested in another Paris suburb and charged with a terrorist conspiracy.

Prosecutors at the time said they believed he was planning to target the Euro 2016 competition, which was being held in France.

A few days later, Dutch police arrested another suspect, 37-year-old French national Anis Bahri.

Investigators said the size of the weapons haul in the Paris suburb of Argenteuil and the timing of the arrests - days after attacks on Brussels airport and metro - showed another attack was "imminent", but they never managed to identify a possible target.

Both Kriket and Bahri are believed to have travelled to Syria in late 2014 or early 2015.

The two men and 43-year-old Algerian national Abderrahmane Ameuroud, whose DNA was found in the Argenteuil apartment, are suspected of forming a terror cell on behalf of the Islamic State group.

Four other men aged between 38 and 44 are also accused of playing smaller roles in the suspected plot.

Kriket has denied planning an attack, telling investigators he had intended to sell the weapons to make money.

In July 2015, he was sentenced in absentia to 10 years imprisonment in Belgium over his suspected involvement in a jihadist network supplying fighters to Syria.

One of his co-accused in that trial was Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected mastermind of the Paris attacks, who was killed in a shootout with French police.

The only surviving member of the group of jihadists who massacred 130 people at the Bataclan concert hall and other venues around Paris, Salah Abdeslam, is set to go on trial in September.

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