Jihadists planned to blow up the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower and even a nuclear plant, according to a leaked conversation between an Algerian citizen living in France and a senior officer of Al-Qaeda branch in the Maghreb.
French police stumbled across the malicious plot after they decrypted messages between a 29-year-old Algerian halal butcher living in Vaucluse, southeastern France, and a high-ranked officer from Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
The pair was exchanging encrypted messages for about a year on the Islamic site Shoumouk al-Islam.
The suspect was identified as Ali M, a married father of two children who had spent at least five years in France. His pseudonym on the site was Abu Jaji, while the Al-Qaeda militant went under the alias Redouane18.
The leak disclosed that Redouane18 asked Abu Jaji to make “suggestions concerning how to conduct jihad in the place you are currently [in France].”
Ali M responded that the jihadists may target such historic monuments as well-known Paris museum the Louvre, or another famous landmark, the Eiffel Tower. He added that among the targets there may be nuclear plants or festivals or cultural events which “that take place in the cities of southern France where thousands of Christians gather for a month [for holidays].”
The Islamists should attack “average French citizens from the poorer classes gathering in small places, such as bars and nightclubs,” as well as police officers, wrote Ali M.