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Was Bin Laden planning to attack France before the presidential elections?

Translated Tuesday 13 September 2011, by Jayne McKenzie and reviewed by Bill Scoble

Documents threatening France were found in Osama bin Laden’s hideout by the Americans, and were forwarded to Paris, according to a statement given on Friday by a French intelligence source, who added that the threats were, however, “disjointed”.

“Yes, we received documents from our American friends. Apparently so have other Western countries”, stated the source, partially confirming the reports in Paris Match magazine and on France Info radio. The documents are said to have come from “Bin Laden’s hideout”, where the Al-Qaeda leader was killed by an American commando unit on May 2nd in a house in Abbottabad, in the north of Islamabad. Amongst the documents, “there are certainly plans for threats against France”, says the source, but they are “disjointed and need to be analysed in detail, handled with caution”. "They are intentions, rather than actual plans, more of a commentary than fatwa”. Both the internal and the external French intelligence agencies (DCRI and DGSE) have refused to comment on the reports.

Between the September 11 attacks and his death, Bin Laden had explicitly threatened France on several occasions. A few days after the death of the Al-Qaeda leader, the head of the DCRI, Bernard Squarcini, considered France “Al-Qaeda’s number two target” after the United States. The French authorities consider the threat of terrorism to be high, and the national terror alert level has been at red (the second highest level) since the London bombings in July 2005.

The main concerns are for the French hostages, four of whom are being held in the Sahel zone by GSPC, a radical Islamist militia; also attacks against French foreign interests, and potential terrorist acts by Jihads returning to France after having fought in Afghanistan.

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