France extends detention of terror plot suspect

Police forces gesture on March 25, 2016 in Schaerbeek suburb, Brussels during an demining operation.
Police forces gesture on March 25, 2016 in Schaerbeek suburb, Brussels during an demining operation.PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - A French judge has extended the detention of the main suspect in what officials said was a foiled terror attack, a judicial source said on Monday (March 28).

Reda Kriket, who is linked to the suspected ringleader of the Paris attacks, was arrested on Thursday in a suburb of the French capital in a raid in which police also found several assault rifles and explosives.

A specialist judge authorised the French authorities to hold Kriket beyond the usual four days without charge, a move allowed if there is an imminent risk of attack.

Kriket, a 34-year-old French national, was found guilty in absentia in Brussels in July of being part of a network recruiting militants to Syria and sentenced to 10 years in jail.

Also convicted in absentia in the same trial was Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected ringleader of the Nov 13 attacks in Paris that left 130 people dead.

Investigations showed Kriket played a key role in financing the jihadist network with money from robberies and stolen goods.

Among those who went to Syria through the network were Abaaoud and another Paris attacker, Chakib Akrouh.

Dutch police on Sunday arrested a French national identified only as Anis B. who is thought to have been planning the attack in France in the name of the Islamic State group along with Kriket.

Deepening the cross-border connections between the suspected jihadist cells, Belgian police at the weekend also charged two men with involvement in a terrorist group over the foiled French plot linked to Kriket.

One of them was named as Abderamane A., whom police shot in the leg after a stand-off at a tram-stop Friday in the Schaerbeek district of Brussels.