France busts neo-Nazi cell over plot against Jewish, Muslim places of worship
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France busts neo-Nazi cell over plot against Jewish, Muslim places of worship

Five members charged with terror offenses between September and May, legal source says, adding that plan was ill-defined

Illustrative: A swastika is seen on a side wall of a former synagogue in Mommenheim, eastern France, March 4, 2019.  (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)
Illustrative: A swastika is seen on a side wall of a former synagogue in Mommenheim, eastern France, March 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)

PARIS — French police have busted a neo-Nazi cell accused of plotting attacks on Jewish or Muslim places of worship, legal sources said Tuesday.

Five members of the group, who were “close in ideology to the neo-Nazi movement” were charged between September and May over the alleged plot, a source close to the investigation said.

“The investigation suggested they were developing an ill-defined plot to carry out an attack, likely to target a place of worship,” the judicial source said.

The sources gave no details of specific targets or motives.

Police in the southeastern city of Grenoble first arrested a man on weapons charges in September 2018. The investigation led them to the four other suspects, two of them minors.

Anti-terrorism investigators took over the investigation in January and charged the suspects with terror offenses, including making and transporting explosive devices and being part of a terrorist conspiracy. The case was only announced publicly Tuesday.

French police officers patrol in Strasbourg, France, on December 13, 2018, following a deadly terror attack in the city two days earlier. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

While France has repeatedly been targeted by jihadists since 2015, a handful of alleged plots involving far-right extremists have made headlines in recent months.

In November, six people were arrested over an alleged plot to attack President Emmanuel Macron.

In July 2017, a 23-year-old was charged with plotting to assassinate the president at France’s Bastille Day military parade. The man told investigators he wanted to kill Macron along with “Muslims, Jews, blacks and homosexuals,” and three kitchen knives were found in his car.

In June 2018, 13 people with links to the radical Action des Forces Operationnelles (Operational Forces Action) group were arrested by anti-terrorist police over an alleged plot to attack Muslims.

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