The Latest: Paris suspect charged with terrorism offenses
PARIS (AP) — The Latest on the deadly attacks in Belgium and France. (all times local):
The Paris prosecutor says that a Frenchman arrested last week has been charged with a string of terrorism offenses for allegedly plotting an “imminent” attack.
Francois Molins said Wednesday that the suspect, Reda Kriket, is accused of participating in a terrorist group with plans for at least one attack, possessing and transporting arms and explosives, and holding fake documents.
Molins says Kriket is believed to have traveled to Syria in 2014 and 2015 and made several trips between France and Belgium.
At least three other people are in custody in the case in Belgium and the Netherlands.
An official linked to the investigation of the Brussels attacks says that a laptop found near the hideout of the suspects of the March 22 airport bombing contained images of the prime minister’s official residence and office.
The official, who asked not to be identified because the investigation is ongoing, said that at the moment there were “absolutely no” specific indications that Prime Minister Charles Michel was under threat from the attackers.
He said the computer “was full of stuff” of many locations and information garnered from the Internet.
The prime minister’s office has long been under special security review and that has been increased since the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris and in Brussels last week.
European authorities say they are holding at least four people in three countries with suspected links to a thwarted plot to attack France.
Frenchman Reda Kriket, detained in the Paris region last week on suspicion of being in the “advanced stages” of a plot, is being questioned by a magistrate Wednesday who is expected to file preliminary terrorism charges. Authorities found a large quantity of explosives and weapons in Kriket’s apartment.
Two Algerians believed linked to Kriket’s alleged plot are being held in Brussels. The Belgian federal prosecutors’ office said Wednesday that the men, identified as Abderrahmane A. and Rabah M., will face a hearing on April 7.
Another Frenchman detained in the Kriket case is being held in the Dutch city of Rotterdam, but is resisting extradition to France. He has not been publicly identified.
Kriket was convicted in absentia last year on terrorism charges with the suspected ringleader of the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris.
French President Francois Hollande has decided to abandon a bill that would have revoked citizenship for convicted terrorists and strengthened the country’s state of emergency.
He had initially submitted the two proposals days after the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris that left 130 people dead.
The proposal to revoke the citizenship of convicted terrorists who had dual nationalities had prompted a heated political dispute in France, with the far right applauding the move while some on the left expressed indignation at what they called a divisive measure.
Opponents of the measure say it would create two classes of citizens — dual nationals who could lose their French citizenship and French citizens who cannot — in opposition to the principle of equality set out in France’s constitution.