French police discovered a cache of weapons over the weekend, including a bazooka, in the no-go Paris suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis only a day after young men had robbed officers of their weapons in the same suburb.
The police say they found an American-made anti-tank bazooka along with several other weapons, a large quantity drugs, and police equipment in a bike shed in the troubled suburb. The raid is likely connected to organised crime in the area as the information leading to the operation came from the Central Organisation for the Fight Against Organised Crime (OCLCO), L’Express reports.
Police were able to track down two men, one of which admitted to owning the weapons. Police say in addition to the anti-tank weapon, they seized high power explosives, 12-gauge shells and 9mm ammunition, two sawn-off shotguns, and police equipment which authorities believe would be used to sow confusion or allow suspects to escape police detection.
A local police officer said he believed the bazooka was likely to be used in an attack against an armoured car. “It’s a good thing that we managed to intercept them before they sold this weapon,” the officer said.
The raid comes shortly after several officers were attacked in the suburb by a group of up to 30 people after the officers attempted a routine identification check on several young men. The area in which the officers were attacked was the same in which many rioted earlier this year after a black teen named Theo was assaulted by officers.
According to officers, they attempted to identify a young man who resisted and fled with several other youths. Two of the three officers pursued the young men whilst the remains officer guarded the police vehicle. The remaining officer was then attacked by a group of up to 30 individuals who stole an LBD40 rifle which fires non-lethal ammunition and an electric stun gun.
The suburbs of northern Paris have become well-known for organised crime, drug dealing, and radical Islamism. Many, including France’s foremost expert on radical Islam Gilles Kepel, assert that Seine-Saint-Denis is a hub for radical Islamic extremism. Kepel has warned that radical Islamists are seeking to destabilise France and that their goal is to bring Europe to the brink of civil war.
The surge in radical Islamic thought in the suburbs has also led to a rise in anti-Semitism in the area. Many Jews have decided to move, some out of the country, because of an increase in hostility toward them from Muslims.