France arrests 14 in plot to free bombing prisoner

France arrests 14 in plot to free bombing prisoner
# 18 May 2010 18:23 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. French police on Tuesday arrested 14 men suspected of plotting a prison break-out to free an Islamist militant who took part in the bloody 1995 Paris Metro bombings, a judicial source said, APA reports quoting website.
The men were detained in the Paris suburbs by French anti-terrorist police, based on evidence obtained during a secret phone-tapping operation, the source said.
The police also seized weapons and money during the raids.
The 14 men are suspected of planning the escape of Ali Belkacem, an Algerian national sentenced to life imprisonment in October 2002 for his role in the bombing of the Musee d’Orsay underground train station on October 17, 1995, which left 26 people wounded.
The attack was one of a series of bombings which ripped through the Paris underground transport network between July and October 1995, leaving eight people dead and dozens injured.
Responsibility was claimed by the Armed Islamic Group (AIG), which said it wanted to punish the city for supporting the Algerian government during the country’s civil war.
Two other Islamist militants are serving life sentences for the attacks -- Boualem Bensaid, the supposed leader of the AIG militants in France, and Rachid Ramda, charged with financing the operation from London.
The men arrested on Tuesday also are suspected of plotting the escape of Djamel Beghal, another Algerian sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2001 for a suicide attack on the American Embassy in Paris.
He recently was released from prison but remains under house arrest in the Cantal region in central France.