France: Revenge cause for ambush

The violent attacks in France continue, with police now saying they might be facing a "permanent intifada". Curious phrase, as 'intifada' means 'uprising'. Uprising against what? Or is the usage of the word 'initifada' meant to imply that the rioters are Arabs?

According to the French State Prosecutor, the attacks are not random acts of violence, but rather revenge attacks against the police for earlier police actions.

Five people were placed under investigation Saturday for attempted murder after ambushing police in a northern Paris suburb and officials reported new attacks on police, days before France marks the first anniversary of fiery suburban riots.

In the new violence, about 30 youths threw stones and two Molotov cocktails at a police car as it arrived Friday night to respond to a garbage bin fire in a neighborhood of the town of Orleans, some 130 kilometers (80 miles) south of Paris, police said, adding that no one was injured.

Less than 24 hours earlier, a band of hooded attackers doused a female police officer with gasoline in the Paris suburb of Aulnay-sous-Bois after luring police to the scene, officials said.

The increasing targeting of police raised the tension a notch, ahead of the one-year marker this Friday of the start of three weeks of rioting that shook France to its core and laid bare layers of discrimination against the large minority communities living in suburban housing projects.

In Bobigny, in the Seine-Saint-Denis region where the rioting started, five people on Saturday were placed under investigation — a step short of being charged — on counts of attempted murder with premeditation on public agents, criminal association and making death threats, judicial officials said.

The five are suspects in an Oct. 13 ambush in the town of Epinay-sur-Seine, north of Paris, in which police were lured to a housing project then attacked by about 30 youths. One officer hit by a rock required 30 stitches to the face. Four of the five suspects were jailed. Four other people initially detained were freed.

The state prosecutor, Francois Molins, said the well-planned ambush was a revenge attack for a recent drug arrest. The suspect in question in that arrest, identified only as Silimaka, was among the five placed under investigation, officials said. They were not authorized to speak publicly and asked that their names be withheld. Saturday was Salimaka's 18th birthday, they said.

Prosecutor Molins painted a similar scenario for the attack early Friday in Aulnay-sous-Bois, telling reporters that hooded youths set a trap to seek revenge for a companion sentenced last week to three months in prison, with two months suspended, for stoning a police car.

"What is new is the growing violence against police and this phenomenon of ambushes used to avenge earlier (police) interventions," said David Skuli, department director for public security.

Police also have been attacked in the southern suburb of Corbeille-Essonnes and in Les Mureaux, to the west of Paris.

Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, responding to the growing attacks on police officers, has urged tougher punishment for such acts.

Source: IHT (English)

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