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France arrests neo-Nazi group planning violent attack

Group calls itself ‘Honor and Nation’; 3 suspects charged with forming a ‘terrorist criminal association’

Illustrative: A police car drives past the Grand Mosque in Paris, Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Illustrative: A police car drives past the Grand Mosque in Paris, Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

PARIS, France — Three members of a neo-Nazi group arrested in eastern France on suspicion of planning an attack on a masonic lodge have been charged, a judicial source said Saturday.

The suspects, two men aged 29 and 56 and a 53-year-old woman, were indicted on Friday evening by a Paris anti-terrorist judge on suspicion of forming a “terrorist criminal association,” the source added.

Three others also arrested on Tuesday — two men and a woman — have since been released.

Belonging to a group calling itself “Honor and Nation,” the suspects are believed to have planned a violent attack, although they were not on the verge of carrying it out, a source familiar with the investigation said.

They were arrested based on their communications, research into explosives, and scouting of the potential target.

The probe is just the latest into France’s far-right scene.

Last month anti-terror prosecutors requested a trial for nine members of a group calling itself OAS that was dismantled in 2017, suspected of targeting senior politicians or French Muslims.

Another organization suspected of planning attacks on Muslims, AFO, was taken down in 2018, the same year as still another group was believed to have been preparing an attempt on French President Emmanuel Macron’s life.

Further anti-terrorist probes relate to a neo-Nazi group suspected of targeting Jewish and Muslim places of worship and to a white supremacist who admired the perpetrator of the 2019 attack on mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

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