Suspect was planning to travel to Syria
French authorities have foiled an attack on one or two churches, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said at a news conference on Wednesday.
Caseneuve said that detailed documents were found, "establishing without any doubt that the individual was planning an imminent attack, most likely against one or two churches. That attack was avoided on Sunday morning.”
Cazeneuve did not identify the suspect or the church or churches that he was believed to be targeting. The New York Times identifies him as a 24-year-old computer science student and says he is also suspected of of involvement in the murder of a young mother, Aurélie Chatelain (pictured). The BBC says he is an Algerian national and that he was detained on Sunday in Paris after he apparently shot himself by accident and called an ambulance.
According to the Times:
The interior minister said the authorities were aware that the student wanted to leave for Syria, and that he had been flagged by the police services as a security risk. But Mr. Cazeneuve added that checks made in the past two years found nothing to warrant the opening of a judicial investigation.
The student is also suspected of being involved in the murder of a 32-year-old woman in a suburb south of Paris, Mr. Cazeneuve said. The woman, identified as Aurélie Chatelain, was found dead in her parked car in the town of Villejuif on Sunday.
Mr. Cazeneuve said Ms. Chatelain, the mother of a 5-year-old girl, was from northern France and was in Paris for a professional training program. Mr. Cazeneuve did not indicate whether the authorities were aware of any links between the student and Ms. Chatelain.
According to Aleteia’s French edition, investigators found the suspect’s DNA in Chatelain’s car. "The ballistics analysis also demonstrates his involvement in the murder," said RTL. "Investigators believe he tried to steal her car before committing a potential attack."
ollowing the footsteps of his blood on the ground that the police investigating regained his car and discovered it contained the arsenal: a flashing light, a machine gun and two Kalashnikov automatic guns. … Searching his home, investigators got hold of three additional Kalashnikovs, four tactical vests and bullet-proof, flashing lights and other branded ‘police’ armbands. …
The attack was foiled … probably due to the resistance of Aurelie Chatelain. It is the 18th act of Islamic terrorism in France since the beginning of the year.