Subscribe

Four to appear before judge for French terror attacks, country ponders national divisions

Three French gunmen born of immigrant parents carried out attacks from Jan. 7-9 in the Paris region, targeting the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, police and a kosher supermarket. 

  • close
    Police officers guard French citizen Fritz-Joly Joachin inside the courtroom before a hearing in the town of Haskovo, Bulgaria, Jan. 20. Haskovo regional court approved the European arrest warrant against Joachin issued by a Paris court, so that the French citizen is to be extradited to France to face charges of alleged participation in an organized crime group whose aim was the organization of terrorist acts. Fritz-Joly Joachin will be extradited to France charged with having been linked to the Kouachi brothers who killed 12 people at the Paris headquarters of the French satirical Charlie Hebdo magazine two weeks ago.
    STR/AP
    View Caption
  • About video ads
    View Caption
of

Terror attacks by French Islamic extremists should force the country to look inward at its "ethnic apartheid," the prime minister said Tuesday as four men faced preliminary charges on suspicion of links to one of the gunmen.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls told journalists that fighting hatred, anti-Semitism and racism in the country is an urgent priority, notably in France's impoverished suburbs that house sizable immigrant communities.

Valls, a relatively conservative Socialist whose hard line on Islamic extremism has won many fans, says he wasn't making excuses for crime or terrorism, "but we also have to look at the reality of our country."

Three French gunmen born of immigrant parents carried out attacks from Jan. 7-9 in the Paris region, targeting the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, police and a kosher supermarket. Twenty people were killed in all, including the gunmen in police raids.

The Paris prosecutor's office said the four men in court Tuesday, the first to face charges in the Paris terror attacks, are suspected of providing logistical support to gunman Amedy Coulibaly.

Coulibaly shot a policewoman to death on the outskirts of Paris and then seized hostages inside a kosher supermarket, killing four before he was killed by police. It is not clear whether the suspects, all in their 20s, were involved in plotting the attacks or even aware of Coulibaly's plans.

The Paris prosecutor's office said five others arrested in the investigation were released without charge.

No one has been charged for direct involvement in the Jan. 7-9 terror attacks. Coulibaly claimed allegiance to the Islamic State group while the two brothers who attacked the Charlie Hebdo newspaper said they were backed by al-Qaida in Yemen.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio paid respects to the Paris terror victims Tuesday, meeting with the Paris mayor and visiting the kosher market and Charlie Hebdo's offices.

Valls said memories have dimmed of the three weeks of riots by disaffected youths in 2005 that shook France.

"And yet, the stigmas remain ... a territorial, social and ethnic apartheid that has imposed itself on our country," he said. "The social misery is compounded by the daily discriminations, because someone does not have the right name, the right color of skin, or because she is a woman."

In response to the 2005 riots, the French government spent hundreds of millions of euros (dollars) to improve conditions in its rundown suburbs, with little success. Unemployment among young people in the housing projects is well above the national average and state buildings are often targeted for vandalism and arson.

"The fight against hatred, anti-Semitism in all its forms, racism — these fights are absolutely urgent," Valls said. Young people who refused to take part in a national minute of silence for the terror attack victims "are symptoms of something that is not going well."

In Athens, an Algerian man suspected of jihadi terrorist links in Belgium appeared before a Greek prosecutor for an extradition hearing on being sent to Belgium. The suspect, whose name was not released, was detained Saturday in Athens, where he lives.

Belgium launched a large anti-terrorism sweep last week, during which two suspects were killed and one wounded, that netted several returnees from Islamic holy war in Syria.

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome
 
 
Make a Difference
Inspired? Here are some ways to make a difference on this issue.
FREE Newsletters
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.
 

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK