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Terror connections

Normandy attacker spent time in Geneva prison

One of the individuals who attacked a church in northern France on Tuesday had prior links to terrorist activities and was briefly held in Geneva after having attempted to travel to Syria.

The Tribune de Genève newspaper reported that the man had previously tried twice without success to travel to Syria, once from Geneva airport. During that attempt, the French citizen was stopped in Turkey on his way and sent back to Geneva. There, he was arrested and spent several days in the Champ-Dollon prison before being extradited to France. 

Paris prosecutor François Molins confirmed the report on Tuesday evening.

The individual was one of two attackers shot and killed in the town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray in Normandy after having stormed into a Catholic church armed with knives, executed a priest and taken several nuns hostage, injuring one seriously.

The Federal Office for Justice confirmed earlier on Tuesday that a French citizen had been arrested and held in Geneva on May 14, 2015 – the date reported by the Tribune de Genève – and later extradited to France. However, justice authorities did not confirm the man’s identity. 

The Islamic State terror group has claimed responsibility for the latest attack in France. 

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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