00:21 GMT +325 September 2017
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    Arms Trade in France's Neighborhoods Resembles 'Principle of Atomic Bomb'

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    Arms proliferation among criminals reminds me of "the principle of an atomic bomb," criminalist Xavier Raufer said in an interview with Sputnik, commenting on the recent reports of the arms depot found in Saint Denis, France.

    According to Raufer, over the last twenty or thirty years, weapons and ammunition outside the authorities' control have been repeatedly found in city quarters. These quarters are also called "difficult neighborhoods" where the police go only under exceptional circumstances.

    "About ten years ago they found twelve grenade launchers at once. So, this is not the first time. Of course, […] the weapons found primarily serve the purposes of organized crime," Raufer said.

    The expert noted that arms proliferation in "difficult" neighborhoods works "according to the principle of an atomic bomb."

    "When one gang has a Kalashnikov rifle, and the others do not have it, they risk being left with nothing. In this case, they just don't have enough military power. And where there is one weapon, the second, third and fourth appear… Moreover, the gangs may decide to play big and, for example, attack a truck carrying money. In this case, a grenade launcher would be in high demand!" Raufer noted.

    According to reports, the weapons discovered in a Saint Denis warehouse belonged to drug traffickers. However, Xavier Raufer emphasized that they are of great interest to terrorist recruiters as well.

    "We are dealing with criminals and no one knows if these people will turn into terrorists tomorrow and whether they will use their weapons to commit terrorist attacks," concluded Raufer.

    A warehouse filled with weapons was discovered in one of the "difficult" neighborhoods of the Paris-Saint-Denis suburbs at the end of last week, a Parisian newspaper reported.

    In a bike storage room, the police have found a grenade launcher, shotguns, cartridges and explosives, as well as several kilograms of marijuana.

    Authorities fear that the situation in the suburbs might soon get out of hand, as Islamic radicals living in the same areas become increasingly interested in the arms arsenals.

    France has seen a number of terrorist attacks as well as attacks on law enforcement services over the last year.

    On January 7, 2015 two gunmen armed with assault rifles stormed the Charlie Hebdo editorial offices in Paris and gunned down 12, injuring 11.

    Later that year, on November 13, the French capital was hit by a series of coordinated bombings and mass shootings that resulted in 130 deaths and some 368 injuries — the deadliest attack in France since World War II.

    On June 7, 2017, a 40-year-old assailant of Algerian descent attacked police officers with a hammer near the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, slightly injuring one of the officers. The attacker was neutralized.

    On April 20, a 39-year-old man, known for radicalization, attacked law enforcement officers on the Avenue des Champs-Elysees in the French capital. One policeman was killed, two other police officers and a woman, who was passing by, were injured. The assailant was killed.

    Related:

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    criminals, terrorism, illegal trade, proliferation, arms, France
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