French police kill man in wave of anti-terror raids

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A French policeman stands guard in Cannes during an anti-terrorist operation, 6 October
Image caption,
French police are seen here carrying out an operation in Cannes

Police in the French city of Strasbourg have shot dead a man said to be a radical Islamist linked to a grenade attack on a Jewish shop in Paris.

The suspect opened fire when police arrived at a flat and was mortally wounded when officers shot back, the city's prosecutors said.

Three policemen were lightly injured by bullets which hit their body armour.

Ten other suspects, one of whom was also said to be armed, were detained in anti-terror raids across the country.

Raids were carried out in Nice and Cannes in the south-east as well as in an area of Paris.

President Francois Hollande stressed "the full determination of the state to protect French people against all forms of terrorist threats", the presidential palace said.

'Magnum revolver'

In Strasbourg, a police rapid intervention squad entered the flat and found the suspect holding a .357 Magnum revolver, prosecutors said.

Image caption,
The suspect was armed when officers raided the flat in Strasbourg, police said

The man fired several bullets, hitting three officers, one in his helmet, another in his bullet-poof vest.

The dead man was named as Jeremy Sidney, 33, a French national. An ex-prisoner, who served time for drug-trafficking, he had recently converted to Islam.

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins described him as "a delinquent" and said his fingerprints had been found on the remains of a grenade thrown into the kosher grocery store in the Paris suburb of Sarcelles on 19 September. One person was slightly injured in the attack.

Mr Molins said police had uncovered a list of Jewish associations and that the inquiry would determine "the next targets of this cell".

He described the 10 arrested suspects as "often common criminals who set out on a path of radicalisation toward Islamist jihadism".

Three of them had criminal records for drug trafficking, theft and violence, he said.

Sidney's female companion, who was wearing a niqab (full veil), was arrested during the police operation.

The prosecutor of Strasbourg, Patrick Poirret, described her as one of "[Sidney's] two religious wives", aged 22 and mother of a six-year-old girl and a one-month-old baby.

He said Sidney was "very determined, with probably the ambition to die a martyr, and had emptied the chamber" of his revolver at the police before being shot dead.

Mr Poirret said four "wills" had been found during Saturday's raids.

One of those arrested was reportedly carrying a loaded gun but did not use it.

The grenade attack in Sarcelles happened on the same day that a French satirical paper published crude caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, and while anti-Western protests were growing against an anti-Islam film.