4 friends plotted Dec. 1 attack


Associated Press

PARIS

Four longtime friends in their 30s, living in the same French city and communicating through a closed phone line, were planning a terror attack in France as early as next week on orders from an Islamic State group member in Iraq or Syria, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said Friday.

The “commando” of four arrested on Sunday in the eastern city of Strasbourg plotted to carry out an attack on Thursday, but investigators have not yet determined “the specific chosen target among all those considered by the group,” Molins said.

The prosecutor didn’t name any targets, but security was tightened this week at the Paris headquarters of France’s criminal investigations police, reportedly among the locations studied. French President Francois Hollande said a “large-scale attack” was thwarted.

The night they were arrested, two of the Strasbourg group had just downloaded the Periscope application, which allows people to stream live on Internet with a cellphone.

The app activity suggests they were preparing an “imminent” attack, Molins said.

The four Strasbourg suspects also were in possession of guns and ammunition, he said.

Among the weapons seized during home searches were two handguns, two automatic rifles, several cartridge clips and dozens of cartridges of different calibers.

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