France arrests two over foiled attack plot near Orleans

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From AFP via Yahoo news 

Paris (AFP) – A jihadist plot was foiled last week in the French region of Orleans, southwest of Paris, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Tuesday, said Tuesday, as the government prepared constitutional changes to enshrine emergency police powers.

“A planned attack targeting representatives of state forces in the Orleans region was foiled last week by the DGSI (France’s internal intelligence agency),” Cazeneuve said.

Two French citizens aged 20 and 24 were arrested on December 19, he said. The older has a police record for petty crime.A police source told AFP that one was originally from Morocco and the other from Togo.

They were “in contact with a French jihadist in Syria and the investigation ought to establish if he ordered the attacks that one of the two arrested men has admitted they were planning to carry out against soldiers, police and representatives of the state,” Cazeneuve said. 

These arrests are the result of meticulous work by our intelligence services and bring the number of attacks foiled on the national territory since 2013 to 10,” he added. He also said that 3,414 people had been turned away from France’s borders since a state of emergency was introduced in the wake of last month’s Paris attacks, which left 130 people dead.They were refused entry “due to the risk they present to security and public order,”

The announcements came a day before the government was due to present reforms aiming to inscribe emergency security powers in the constitution. Emergency policing powers used under the state of emergency — such as house arrests and the right to raid houses without judicial oversight — are currently based on a simple law, which can be challenged at the constitutional court.

An environmental activist has already challenged the right to the house arrests, although the court ruled Tuesday that they were allowed under state of emergency rules. President Francois Hollande has called for the powers to be protected from further litigation by placing them in the constitution.

The government said Tuesday it will not seek to enshrine the right to remove an individual’s French nationality if he or she is convicted of a terrorist offence, which can be used only against people with a second nationality.There were fears that this would lead to discrimination against people with dual nationalities.

Several sources have told AFP that there may be a return of the “national unworthiness” sentences that were used against Nazi collaborators after World War II.

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