Thursday 29 September 2016

Paris attacker's school failed to pass warnings on to police

David Chaznan Paris

Published 29/12/2015 | 02:30

French investigators also found an email in which the 18-year-old wife of another Paris terrorist praised his 'martyrdom' and was supportive of his plan to leave Syria and 'terrorise' French people. REUTERS
French investigators also found an email in which the 18-year-old wife of another Paris terrorist praised his 'martyrdom' and was supportive of his plan to leave Syria and 'terrorise' French people. REUTERS

A Belgian school attended by one of the Paris attackers alerted education officials to signs of his radicalisation, but they failed to pass on the warnings to police.

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Bilal Hadfi's school in Brussels shared their concerns with civil authorities, Belgian media reported, as a woman claiming to be his mother said she felt guilty about failing to notice his radicalisation.

Hadfi blew himself up outside the Stade de France in Paris last month.

Teachers at Hadfi's school, Anneessens-Funck, grew concerned after he openly cheered the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris in January.

Documents and messages to educational officials describing their fears about Hadfi were seen by Belgian newspapers. De Morgen reported on Saturday that a police supervisory body known as Committee P is investigating why the warnings were not passed on to the security services.

In an April 27 email, the school's director, Chris Pijpen, told an education official, Charles Huygens, that Hadfi had not attended school since February 24.

The director feared he had left for Syria and rumours to that effect were circulating among pupils.

His mother and aunt reportedly told school officials on March 23 that he had left to stay with relatives in Morocco, because he was "fed up" with school.

Belgian law requires that schools report suspicions of terrorist activity to the authorities, but Mr Pijpen said he had never received a reply to his email.

A woman claiming to be Hadfi's mother said on Sunday that she felt guilty about failing to notice her son's radicalisation.

Presenting herself as Fatima, she spoke to a Belgian television station that broadcasts to Arab immigrants. She said she blamed herself for not realising her 20-year-old son was among a group of "children who were caught in a machine by people who knew how to manipulate them. They were torn away from their families".

The woman's identity was confirmed by national radio and television stations, which had been in contact with her for a documentary.

French investigators also found an email in which the 18-year-old wife of another Paris terrorist praised his "martyrdom" and was supportive of his plan to leave Syria and "terrorise" French people.

Kahina, the wife of Samy Amimour, who blew himself up in the Bataclan concert hall, sent a friend an email in which she gloated over her husband's actions. She left for Syria in 2014 while a schoolgirl in the Paris area.

"I'm so proud of my husband and of boasting about his merits... I'm so happy," she wrote of the attacks which killed 130 people.

Elsewhere, two people have been arrested in Corsica over a Christmas Eve assault on firemen and a policeman called to an estate in Ajaccio with a large immigrant population. It led to two days of anti-immigrant protests during which a Muslim prayer hall was attacked.

Irish Independent

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