‘Israel boycott halted security deal that could have foiled Paris attacks’
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‘Israel boycott halted security deal that could have foiled Paris attacks’

Israeli security source says offer of terror-tracking software to French security officials was refused due to 'higher-level instruction not to buy Israeli tech'

A woman is evacuated from the Bataclan concert hall after a terrorist shooting attack in Paris, November 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, File)
A woman is evacuated from the Bataclan concert hall after a terrorist shooting attack in Paris, November 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, File)

An alleged boycott of Israeli technology may have prevented an airport security deal offered to France after the deadly Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher attacks in January, 2015. Use of the Israeli terrorist-tracking technology could possibly have thwarted the subsequent Islamic State terror attacks in Paris and Belgium.

According to an Israeli security source who spoke to Fox News on Monday, an Israeli security company offered terrorist-tracking software to the Directorate-General for Internal Security, France’s main intelligence agency — software that could have helped flag the deadly IS terror cell that perpetrated the attacks in Paris last November and in Belgium last month. But the offer was rebuffed allegedly after an official made clear that Israeli technology could not be purchased, the source said. The agency did not officially state a reason for the rejection.

The software, according to the Fox News report, finds and matches up intelligence reports from a number of different databases, both national and international. The tool could have helped counter-terror agents track suspects in real time.

“French authorities liked it, but the official came back and said there was a higher-level instruction not to buy Israeli technology,” the Israeli counter-terror specialist told FoxNews.com. “The discussion just stopped.”

Members of the BRI, a special unit of the French police, at work in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city center, on November 18, 2015. (AFP/Kenzo Tribouillard)
Members of the BRI, a special unit of the French police, at work in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city center, on November 18, 2015. (AFP/Kenzo Tribouillard)

The source did not name the company behind the software or go into further detail about the technology but indicated it was made available to the US and other countries with which Israel enjoys good relations.

“Government agencies struggling to foil terror attacks need access to technologies that allow them to connect their data fragments, making it possible to handle daily data challenges,” the source added. “With this system, all data can then be easily navigated, processed and represented by employing a set of powerful analytic tools and unique algorithms.”

The source said the software could have given French and European authorities an advantage in flagging and tracking the Islamic State suspects and could have possibly thwarted the attacks that killed 130 in Paris and over 30 in Belgium. Both assaults have been linked to the same Islamic State terror squad.

The last surviving member of the Paris branch of the terror cell, Salah Abdeslam, who was arrested in Brussels last month after a four-month manhunt — setting off the airport and subway attacks in the Belgian capital — is set to be extradited to France after a court appearance.

Abdeslam and alleged Paris accomplice Mohamed Abrini, who has also been charged over the Brussels attacks, were moved to different jails in Belgium last week. Abrini, 31, has confessed to being “the man in the hat” caught on video with suicide bombers at Brussels airport. He was also linked to the November 13 Paris massacre after being caught on video at a motorway gas station with Abdeslam.

This file video image taken from a CCTV camera at a petrol station in Ressons, North of Paris, on November 11, 2015 shows Salah Abdeslam (R), a suspect in the Paris attack of November 13, and Mohamed Abrini (C) buying goods. Abrini was arrested on April 8, 2016, according to police sources. (AFP PHOTO / OFF)
This file video image taken from a CCTV camera at a petrol station in Ressons, North of Paris, on November 11, 2015 shows Salah Abdeslam (R), a suspect in the Paris attack of November 13, and Mohamed Abrini (C) buying goods. Abrini was arrested on April 8, 2016, according to police sources. (AFP PHOTO / OFF)

Following the November Paris attacks, demand for Israeli security technology surged, according to a report in Haaretz in November.

A manager for Israeli company BriefCam — whose technology lets users view security footage quickly to detect suspicious activity — told Haaretz at the time he received urgent orders from Belgium, Italy and Germany, after the attacks.

The Charlie Hebdo assault on January 7, 2015, in which 11 people were killed, was perpetrated by Cherif and Said Kouachi, brothers claiming to be members of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Two days later, four Jewish men were killed at the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket in Paris in an attack coordinated with the Kouachi brothers and perpetrated by Amedy Coulibaly, who claimed to be working on behalf of the Islamic State.

The three terrorists died in separate shootouts with security forces on January 9, 2015, ending a three-day manhunt that left Paris reeling.

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