posted on Mar, 3 2004 @ 12:35 PM
An unknown terrorist group is threatening to blow up sections of France’s railway if it is not paid a large ransom. The group has proven their
capability by leading police to one of the bombs to show that they were serious. They police have found that the test bomb was professionally made and
would destroy the track as promised.
PARIS (Reuters) - A shadowy group is threatening to blow up sections of track in
France's SNCF state railway network if it is not paid four million euros ($5 million), officials said Wednesday.
The group, calling itself AZF after a chemical factory in southwestern France that exploded in 2001, claims to have hidden 10 bombs around the network
and has already directed police to a test model to prove its determination, officials said.
The puzzled officials ruled out links between Islamic or Chechen extremists and the hitherto unknown AZF group, which has sent six threatening letters
since mid-December to the Interior Ministry and President Jacques Chirac.
"We know nothing about this group but we take these threats seriously," Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy told journalists. The group helped police
find a time bomb on Feb. 21 that it had buried under tracks near Limoges in southwestern France. Police tested it and found it could destroy a section
of track. SNCF chairman Louis Gallois told journalists that about 10,000 railway workers had begun inspecting all 20,000 miles of track in France "to
check there are no bombs."
Paying the ransom would encourage future terrorist to so the same, the police can only hope to stall for time and try and locate the bombs or bombers
before they detonate the bombs. Evidently the ransom notes have been arriving for several weeks, but the French have been trying to keep the
information from the press. Railways schedules have not been changed, but now that the news is out this will no doubt affect travel in France.
[Edited on 3-3-2004 by dbates]
[Edited on 3-3-2004 by SkepticOverlord]
[Edited on 24-3-2004 by dbates]