The Musée du Louvre, the Eiffel Tower and at least one other popular cultural destination in France were the targets of an Islamic terrorist who was arrested in June 2013 before carrying out the attacks, according to reports this week in the daily Le Parisien.
The articles state that the alleged young jihadist, referred to as Ali M., also targeted bars and nightclubs. His writings include references to a prominent cultural event in the south of France, which the reports interpret to be the Festival d’Avignon, a prestigious annual event for theater and classical music.
Among other possible targets were nuclear facilities and airports, according to the newspaper. Ali M. is identified in the reports as a 29-year-old Algerian who has lived in southern France, in the Vaucluse region, where he worked in a halal butcher shop.
He was reportedly plotting with a high-ranking member of the group Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), an anti-government group in Algeria.
Ali M. was arrested a year ago and remains in French custody. Le Parisien reported that he corresponded with the AQMI member online and that he was preparing to receive training in Algeria before being arrested.
The revelation this week has spurred a media debate in France over the country’s vulnerability to terrorist attacks.
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