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A New Step: French Jihadis Plan Terror Attack While Behind Bars In Europe’s Largest Prison

REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter
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A group of 10 jihadis terrorists planned to engage in a mutiny and a terrorist attack in France while behind bars in Europe’s largest prison, according to the facility’s guards.

The ten men were identified as “ringleaders” of the plot, and allegedly created a network among the 4,500 inmates housed at the Fleury-Merogis prison, located in Paris’ southern suburbs. Prison guards had put the terrorists under surveillance for some time before eventually moving them out of the facility before the plan could come to fruition.

“We decided straight away to move them to other institutions,” a spokesman for the prison told France’s Journal du Dimanche.

Authorities did not offer specific details regarding the terrorist plot, but they did note it was a “developed project” which involved a “mutiny” and “taking control” a part of the prison.

Aside from being known as Europe’s largest prison, Fleury-Merogis is also the new home of Salah Abdeslam, the only survivor of last year’s attacks on Paris. Abdeslam, who is currently in solitary confinement, is not believed to be linked to the plot.

France’s prison system has a rampant problem with Islamic radicalism, with many of its facilities becoming breeding grounds for future terrorists. An audit of French prisons revealed that many inmates decorate their cells with black Islamic State flags. Abdeslam himself served time in a French penitentiary for petty theft before becoming the mastermind behind the Paris attacks.

French officials have notified other prisons of the recent jihadis plot, warning that other terrorist inmates could be creating networks while incarcerated across the country. They noted the importance of keeping potential jihadis separate from the rest of the prison population in solitary confinement. The United Kingdom has already taken similar steps to separate any prisoner believed to be an extremist from the rest of the general population.

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Russ Read