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France foils seven terror attacks foiled since start of 2017 as state of emergency is extended once again

Seven terror plots have been foiled in France since the start of the year, Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said Thursday before French MPs voted through the final extension of the country's state of emergency.

France foils seven terror attacks foiled since start of 2017 as state of emergency is extended once again
A soldier takes part in a counter-terrorism training exercise on a TGV train in France. Photos: AFP

“Since the start of the year we've stopped seven plots which could have caused many deaths,” Collomb told CNews television channel.

He said a plot had been thwarted in the southern city of Marseille in April, a week before presidential elections, and could have had “dreadful” consequences, he said.

However a policeman was shot dead on the Champs-Elysées in Paris by an Isis sympathizer just days before the first round of the presidential election on April 23rd.

There have also been other attempted attacks on police and soldiers at Notre-Dame cathedral, the Louvre gallery, Orly airport and again on the Champs-Elysées since the start of 2017.

The extension of the state of emergency was approved on Thursday by the lower house of parliament.

It has been in place since November 2015 after a string of attacks in Paris left 130 dead, and has already been extended several times to cover events such as Euro2016 and the French elections.

New President Emmanuel Macron on Monday vowed to end the state of emergency “this autumn” by introducing a new security law which includes many of the emergency measures.

Twelve human rights groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch called on lawmakers on Wednesday to drop the state of emergency and reject the new law.

Collomb said the law would enable the government to close down mosques where imams are deemed to be condoning terrorism. Closures could be ordered for six months at a time, on a rolling basis.

“Today there are three (mosques) that we want to close… since the start of the state of emergency we've closed 16,” he said.

French counter-terror police regularly stage simulations of terror attacks for training exercises in order to prepare for all eventualities.

Last month they staged an operation that simulated an attack on a TGV train (see pics below).

CRIME

Surgeon fined for trying to sell Paris terror attack victim’s x-ray

A Paris court on Wednesday convicted a surgeon for trying to sell an X-Ray image of a wounded arm of a woman who survived the 2015 terror attacks in the French capital.

Surgeon fined for trying to sell Paris terror attack victim's x-ray

Found guilty of violating medical secrecy, renowned orthopaedic surgeon Emmanuel Masmejean must pay the victim €5,000 or face two months in jail, judges ordered.

Masmejean, who works at the Georges-Pompidou hospital in western Paris, posted the image of a young woman’s forearm penetrated by a Kalashnikov bullet on marketplace Opensea in late 2021.

The site allows its roughly 20 million users to trade non-fungible tokens (NFTs) – certificates of ownership of an artwork that are stored on a “blockchain” similar to the technology used to secure cryptocurrencies.

In the file’s description, the surgeon wrote that the young woman he had operated on had “lost her boyfriend in the attack” on the Bataclan concert hall, the focus of the November 2015 gun and bomb assault in which jihadists killed 130 people.

The X-Ray image never sold for the asking price of $2,776, and was removed from Opensea after being revealed by investigative website Mediapart in January.

Masmejean claimed at a September court hearing that he had been carrying out an “experiment” by putting a “striking and historic medical image” online – while acknowledging that it had been “idiocy, a mistake, a blunder”.

The court did not find him guilty of two further charges of abuse of personal data and illegally revealing harmful personal information.

Nor was he barred from practicing as prosecutors had urged, with the lead judge saying it would be “disproportionate and inappropriate” to inflict such a “social death” on the doctor.

The victim’s lawyer Elodie Abraham complained of a “politically correct” judgement.

“It doesn’t bother anyone that there’s been such a flagrant breach of medical secrecy. It’s not a good message for doctors,” Abraham said.

Neither Masmejean, who has been suspended from his hospital job, nor the victim were present for Wednesday’s ruling.

The surgeon may yet face professional consequences after appearing before the French medical association in September, his lawyer Ivan Terel said.

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