by Jay Akbar, Mailonline, July 6, 2017
Some 100 terror suspects legally own firearms in France, Interior Minister Gerard Collomb has said.
His announcement comes two weeks after a known gun enthusiast rammed a car filled with weapons and gas canisters into a police van on the Champs-Elysees in Paris.
Jihadist Adam Djaziri was the only one killed but the attack raised questions over how the 31-year-old legally possessed firearms despite being flagged as a potential radical Islamist two years ago.
In an interview with Le Figaro newspaper two days after the June 19 incident, Collomb said he had asked for a probe into similar cases.
During a Senate hearing on a proposed new anti-terrorism law, Collomb said they ‘identified about 100’ individuals who, like Djaziri, were registered gun owners despite being on a watchlist for extremism.
He said: ‘The person who wanted to commit that attack was on file and, at the same time, was the legal owner of firearms. This is a sign of disfunction.’
He said he had asked local police authorities to identify individuals on security watchlists so they are ‘able to take action and treat these problems’ in order for the country to ‘return to a normal state’.
France has been under a state of emergency since the November 2015 attacks in Paris, when Islamic State jihadists killed 130 people in shootings and bombings at the Bataclan concert venue, bars, restaurants and the national stadium.
The state of emergency has since been extended five times.
It will formally expire in mid-July when the centrist government of newly elected President Emmanuel Macron is expected to extend it again until November 1, while the new anti-terrorism law is prepared.