RealNews

Find of Toxin Is Considered a Saving Step

The French authorities said today that the discovery Monday of a small quantity of the deadly toxin ricin at a Paris train station probably thwarted a terrorist attack by Islamic militants. But they said they had no proof. The conclusion was drawn from contacts between groups of militants in France and Britain, they said, where ricin was discovered in January during an antiterrorist sweep in London. “One can make a connection even if we do not posses the proof today,” the interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, said. Mr. Sarkozy, speaking on French radio, said the police had also found acetone and ethanol at the Gare de Lyon, where the ricin was found during a routine check of lockers. “A mixture of the three can make an extremely nasty poison,” he said. He added that acetone and ethanol could also serve with castor beans to produce ricin, which is relatively easy to make into a powder or mist. French officials were particularly troubled because the arrests in London in January of six suspected militants, who were found to have ricin, came after the British authorities received information that the French police had obtained during a series of earlier arrests of suspected militants in the suburbs of Paris. Since November, the French police have arrested 29 suspected Islamic militants, mostly of North African origin, including several who belonged to a cell with ties to separatists in Chechnya and to Al Qaeda. Full Story

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