The French authorities announced Wednesday the closure of three mosques because of radicalization, an unprecedented step in France taken under the state of emergency declared after the attacks in Paris.
A vast police operation targeted a mosque Wednesday presented as Salafist of Lagny-sur-Marne, near Paris, resulting in the closing of a place of worship.
This intervention on an unprecedented scale leading to the “final solution, the Council of Ministers and at the earliest, three pseudo-religious associations concerned” in this city of the eastern suburbs, told the press the French Minister Interior, Bernard Cazeneuve.
This is the first time the government announced the dissolution of associations of such worship – on the basis of the 1955 law on state of emergency recently changed – since the attacks of November 13, who made 130 dead and hundreds of injured.
The other two mosques have been closed last week in Gennevilliers, north-western outskirts of Paris and L’Arbresle, near Lyon (center-east).
“There is no place for the enemies of the Republic, (…), there is no place for those who prepare these actions radicalization that can lead to terrorism”, said in the evening Prime Minister Manuel Valls on public television France 3.
The closure of three mosques is “temporary”, the last time the state of emergency, as provided by law. During questions to the government in the National Assembly Wednesday, Bernard Cazeneuve also mentioned a case in Nice (south-east), but this is not a mosque, but “four clandestine prayer rooms” AFP has his entourage.
“Such measures mosques closures for radicalization pattern had never been taken before by any government, including in 2005 during the state of emergency” related to the riots in the suburbs, assured the Minister Cazeneuve.
One way to meet the leader of the right-wing opposition and former French President Nicolas Sarkozy: when asked Wednesday morning on Europe 1 radio, “or how radicalized Salafi mosques” were closed under its mandate to Elysee, the former head of state had answered “many”, without elaborating.
A 9mm pistol
At Lagny, searches conducted Wednesday morning have “led to the notification of 22 output prohibitions of territory”, “to nine measures of house arrest to individuals radicalized” and the seizure of a 9 mm revolver “in an individual who was immediately placed in custody,” according to Bernard Cazeneuve.
This, he said, in “leaders” of the Mosque of Lagny has seized the revolver and documents about jihad and “HDD concealed.” A madrassa (Islamic school) Unreported was also discovered.
The assets of the Imam Mohamed Hammoumi, who presided over one of the associations implicated in this mosque and officiated until December 2014 when he moved to Egypt, had been frozen by an order in April.
Moreover, in a new assessment of the state of emergency, the Minister has reported 2235 searches. They allowed 263 arrests that led to 232 police custody.
Similarly, 334 weapons were seized including 145 long arms and 34 weapons of war. “In 15 days we have therefore seized a third of the volume of weapons of war usually recovered in a year”, welcomed the Minister of Interior.
According to the minister, “330 house arrest were imposed in respect of individuals monitored by the intelligence services primarily for activities related to the radical Islamist movement”.
“We will be with total firmness against those who preach hatred in France”, reiterated the Assembly Mr Cazeneuve, ensuring that 65 imams or preachers were expelled since May 2012, including 34 for one year . Against 19 under President Nicolas Sarkozy (2017-2012), he has insisted.
Mosques closures are variously received in Muslim ranks. Some officials point out that, with 2,500 places of worship, Islam already lacks prayer rooms in France, and prefer that hate imams and preachers are targeted rather than the places themselves.
Two arrests in Brussels
Five searches, which led to two arrests were conducted Wednesday morning in Brussels as part of the investigation Abrini Mohamed and Ahmed Dahmani, two men suspected of involvement in the preparations of attacks in Paris, said the prosecutor Belgian Federal.
“Five searches were executed this morning in the Brussels Region, as part of the federal prosecution investigation related to the leak of the named Mohamed Abrini (against which the Belgian court on November 24 launched an international arrest warrant) and one of the named Ahmed Dahmani, currently in detention in Turkey, “said the prosecutor in a statement.
“As for Mohamed Abrini three searches were executed in Sint-Jans-Molenbeek and Saint-Josse-ten-Node,” two cities with large immigrant populations in the Brussels area, explains the floor.
“A fifth search was executed in Molenbeek related Ahmed Dahmani,” the federal prosecutor in charge of terrorism cases in Belgium, adding that “two people were taken to hearing” by the police.
According to the same source, “the searches took place without particular incident.” “Regarding the carried objects and the identity of those arrested, we can not give information at this time,” the statement concluded.
Mohamed Abrini, Belgian-Moroccan of 30, was filmed on November 11 to 19 h (13 am, Montreal time) at a gas station Ressons (Oise, north of Paris), at the wheel of the Clio has served two days later to commit attacks with Salah Abdeslam, suspected of having participated directly in attacks and brother of a suicide bomber who blew himself up.
A few hours later, on November 12 to 3 am, the two men were back in Brussels, spotted near a SEAT car and Clio. They have since been found.
Belgian of Moroccan origin, Ahmad Dahmani, 26, was arrested in Turkey, in Antalya, where he arrived on November 14, after the attacks, from Amsterdam. He is suspected of having helped identify targets for attacks in Paris.