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    A picture taken on January 7, 2016 shows a woman standing in front of a makeshift memorial for the victims of Paris attacks at the Place de la Republique in Paris.

    Widow of Hebdo Attack Victim Files Lawsuit, More Security Flaws Revealed

    © AFP 2019 / Eric Fefeberg
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    The widow of a French police protection officer shot outside the Charlie Hebdo offices has filed a lawsuit alleging major security failures in the run-up to the attacks amid further revelations of intelligence flaws ahead of the November 13 attacks in Paris.

    France is commemorating the first anniversary of the January 2015 attacks that began when Saïd and Chérif Kouachi forced their way into the offices of the French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris and shot 11 people dead, wounding 11 others, before fleeing and killing a policeman outside. They identified themselves as belonging to the Islamist terrorist group Al-Qaeda's branch in Yemen. Both were eventually gunned down in a village of Dammartin-en-Goële, after taking a hostage.

    The widow of the police protection officer killed outside the offices of the satirical magazine, Franck Brinsolaro – who was on duty guarding the editor-in-chief, Stéphane Charbonnier – has now filed a legal complaint this week over security failings.

    She alleges that security at the offices was slack. She told French radio:

    "For me, Franck was sacrificed. He saw the dysfunction, he lamented the lack of security at the offices, he said people could slip through."

    Meanwhile, it has emerged that a worker in the building had seen Chérif Kouachi in a car outside the offices and that Kouachi had warned the worker: "we’re watching them”. Despite the warning being advised to the security services, it remains unclear whether any course of action was taken.

    Soft Targets Known to Intelligence Services

    It has now emerged – according to Le Monde newspaper – that French intelligence agents had interviewed a jihadist who had returned from Syria in June 2015 and who said he had met Abdelhamid Abaaoud, one of the November 13 attackers who killed 130 and injured hundreds more in a series of attacks in Paris.

    This undated image made available in the Islamic State's English-language magazine Dabiq, shows Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud.
    © AP Photo / Militant photo
    This undated image made available in the Islamic State's English-language magazine Dabiq, shows Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud.

    The jihadist told the officers that Abaaoud discussed soft targets in Paris that would involve mass killings. He spoke of "finding an easy target, a concert for example, where there are [a lot of] people".

    "Imagine a rock concert in a European country, if we gave you arms, would you be prepared to fire into the crowd?" he said.

    One of the November targets was the Bataclan music venue where most of the 130 people died. Other soft targets were the Stade de France, where a match was being played, cafes and restaurants.

    Bataclan theater, Paris, France
    Bataclan theater, Paris, France

    Intelligence agencies in Europe are already facing heavy criticism that one of the November 13 Paris attackers, Salah Abdeslam, from Belgium, was known to the law enforcement services yet managed to buy detonators in France using his driving license as proof of identity.

    The ringleader, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, was able to return from Syria several times via the migrant route of Greece without being detected. 

    There was further criticism of the lack of border controls within Europe – under the Schengen agreement – which allowed Abaaoud and his fellow attackers to travel several times between France and Belgium in the run-up to the mass killings and – in the care of another attacker, Salah Abdeslam Abdeslam – following the attacks.

    Abdeslam has criminal convictions for theft and drugs violations in both Belgium and the Netherlands, but although known to police, he was not on the terrorist radar.

    Charlie Hebdo Attack (195)


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