Thursday, October 23, 2003


What us? Worry?

French leaders, inspecting a simulated chemical attack where volunteer victims feigned agony, said Thursday that they want all major towns to train for the nightmare scenario of such terrorist strikes.

Paris got its exercise in terror first, with police and rescue officers in white protective suits swarming to a train station to contain a pretend attack with a deadly nerve agent.

The simulation, involving 500 officers, turned the area around one of the French capital's most famous landmarks into something resembling a Hollywood movie set, with flashing police lights, decontamination tents and rescuers breathing heavily through gas masks.

The exercise illustrated the extent to which France considers itself a potential terrorist target. Last December, French authorities dismantled what they said was a terror cell with ties to Chechen rebels and al-Qaida that planned bomb or toxic gas attacks in France and Russia.

Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, who walked among wailing "victims" prostrate on the rain-sodden ground, said "there is no particular threat today of chemical terrorism in France."

Apparently Jean-Pierre Raffarin doesn't know about this:

The Italian anti-terrorist police foiled a plan to test a toxic chemical in France this week.

The Italian anti-terrorist police eavesdropping telephone conversations foiled a plot by Moslem extremists to launch a chemical attack in France. The suspects have been caught and were imprisoned on Wednesday. The terrorists, situated in Milan, were planning to test a ?flask of liquid¦ in France, according to the intercepted calls.

A key excerpt from the conversation:

?Is this better than the other product?
?Yes it is better because it-s more efficient. It suffocates people as soon as you open it."

The product was sealed in cans of tomatoes and from the description, could be Sarin or Mustard Gas.


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