Militant admits plotting attack on US Embassy in France

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The Independent Online

A Muslim militant in French custody has confessed to investigators that he was plotting an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Paris, judicial sources said on Tuesday. A French radio report said the man spoke in detail about being recruited by Osama bin Laden.

Djamel Beghal, 35, a French­Algerian, was placed under formal investigation Monday evening, a step short of formal charges, for alleged criminal association in connection with a terrorist enterprise.

Beghal was extradited Sunday from the United Arab Emirates, where he was questioned by anti­terrorism judge Jean­Louis Bruguiere.

He was the second person extradited to France in two days in connection with the plot. Kamel Daoudi, 27, also a French­Algerian, was extradited from Britain on Saturday.

Europe­1 radio reported Tuesday it had seen the document outlining Beghal's confession, in which he spoke of being recruited in Afghanistan by bin Laden's deputy, Abu Zubaydah, for a suicide mission against the US Embassy in France.

The report said the plan was to blow up the embassy with a minivan packed with explosives.

Beghal spent 11 hours in court on Monday, telling French investigators about the plot.

An investigation into the plot was opened in France on Sept. 10 ­ a day before the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. Bruguiere traveled last week to the United Arab Emirates to question Beghal.

Authorities have now tied Beghal to others arrested in the Netherlands, where four people have been arrested, and in Belgium, where two arrests were made.

In addition, six Algerians arrested in Spain and ordered held without bail Friday had direct links with others arrested in Europe in connection with the plot to attack US interests on the continent, Spanish officials said.