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CRIME

French police detain man who threatened to blow himself up on a train

French security forces on Friday detained a 24-year-old man who threatened to blow himself up on a high-speed train and were evaluating his psychiatric health after finding no explosives on him, police said.

French police detain man who threatened to blow himself up on a train
Illustration photo by BERTRAND GUAY / AFP

The TGV train heading from the northeastern city of Colmar to Paris was delayed as a result of being stopped for security forces to intervene, a spokesman for national rail operator SNCF said.

“The situation is finished and under control. The individual has been arrested,” he told AFP.

The local police station said the 24-year-old “was threatening to blow himself up” and asked the passengers if they believed in God, but had neither weapon nor explosives on him.

The train carrying 280 people was held up shortly before 8am in the northeastern town of Louvigny to allow police to intervene and detain him for “threatening to commit an attack”, it said.

Some 100 members of the security forces and specialised sniffer dogs carried out a “thorough search” of the train but found nothing, before the train was allowed back on its way at around 10.20am.

Investigators said the man, who had already made a similar threat on a train in the northeastern city of Reims last year, was undergoing a “psychiatric evaluation”.

A police source said that the man was initially detained by a policeman who was travelling on the train as an ordinary passenger under a system that allows them to travel for free if they signal their presence to the conductor.

This set-up “each day proves its efficiency for the safety of French people on transport”, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said.

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CRIME

France teacher faces ‘terror’ charges over religious chants

French prosecutors have charged a 26-year-old school teacher on suspicion he translated religious chants into French for the Islamic State (IS) group, the national anti-terror prosecutor's office said this week.

France teacher faces 'terror' charges over religious chants

The man was indicted on February 16th over alleged “terrorist criminal conspiracy with a view to committing crimes against people”, the prosecutor’s office said on Monday.

“He is charged with translating into French, singing and editing at least five religious chants promoting jihad and of sending them to members of the Islamic State group to be broadcast,” it said.

The songs were found on his “personal digital equipment”, it said. He is being held in detention.

A source close to the case, who asked to remain anonymous, said the teacher’s home was searched in December, leading to an investigation being launched.

Le Parisien newspaper said the man, a Franco-Algerian, was a primary school teacher in the Parisian suburb of Drancy.

It said he was “suspected of privately disseminating jihadist propaganda” online.

Hundreds of French men and women joined the ranks of IS after it seized large swathes of Syria and Iraq in 2014, before its territorial defeat in 2019.

IS followers have claimed responsibility for devastating attacks in France over the last decade.

They include the worst jihadist attack in French history, which took place in November 2015 in and around Paris and left 130 people dead.

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