Two Algerian Suspects In French Bombings Are Charged
PARIS (AP) _ An Algerian suspected of coordinating a wave of terrorist attacks in France was charged Monday in a Paris bombing that injured 13 people.
Anti-terrorist Judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere charged Boualem Bensaid, 28, with attempted murder, destruction of property, violation of laws regulating explosives and association with a terrorist organization.
Bensaid faces the charges in connection with a bombing on a street near the Maison Blanche subway station Oct. 6 that injured 13 people.
Sources close to the investigation said they expect Bensaid to be charged with some of the seven other bombings or attempted bombings, including the Oct. 17 bombing of a regional subway train near the Musee d’Orsay station in Paris that injured 28 passengers.
A second Algerian, Omar Allaoui, was also charged Monday with attempted murder in the Musee d’Orsay attack.
Allaoui, 27, who says his real name is Smain Ait Ali Belkacem, was arrested last week with two other men near the northern city of Lille. Police found a nearly completed bomb in the apartment where the men were captured.
The series of attacks began July 25, when a bomb tore through a crowded subway train in the heart of Paris near Notre Dame Cathedral, killing seven people and wounding 84.
Bensaid was arrested Thursday in Paris. Police said he was speaking on a public telephone and had ordered a bomb to be set off in a market in Lille.
Police investigators said last week they found Bensaid’s fingerprints on a bomb fragment in the Maison Blanche subway station, as well as on tape stuck to another bomb discovered Aug. 26 on a high-speed rail track near Lyon.
That device, which failed to go off, also bore the fingerprints of Algerian suspect Khaled Kelkal, killed last month in a gun battle with police.
French police say Bensaid received orders from Abdelkader Benouif, alias Abou Fares, and coordinated the bombing campaign. Benouif, who was arrested Saturday by British police in London, is believed to be a leading member of Algeria’s most radical armed group, the Armed Islamic Group.
The militant organization is trying to overthrow the Paris-backed government in the North African country. It has claimed responsibility for some, but not all, of the bombings or attempts in France.
Benouif was arrested with a second, unidentified man some British media identified as Farouk Deneche, the brother of Abdelkrim Deneche, an Algerian citizen living in Sweden. French police believe Abdelkrim Deneche was behind the first attack on July 25.
Sweden’s Supreme Court has refused France’s request to extradite Deneche, saying he has a solid alibi proving he was in the Stockholm area on that day.
British police said Monday they had arrested several more people they suspect of involvement in the bombings, but they refused to reveal their names or say how many suspects were in custody. The police also said they seized documents.
Bensaid also appeared Monday before anti-terrorist Judge Laurence Le Vert, who is heading the investigation into the attempted bombing of the high-speed train tracks near Lyon.
The bombings have put security forces on alert in France. More than 35,000 police _ including 5,000 military personnel _ are patrolling the streets of Paris and other major cities.