Story By: Joseph Golder, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash
A bungling ‘elite’ French SWAT team tasked with arresting a suspected terrorist who reportedly supports Brenton Tarrant, the author of the Christchurch massacre, apparently got the wrong flat and broke down the door of an elderly couple who were asleep.
The far-right, ex-army fan of New Zealand mass shooter Brenton Tarrant was arrested on terrorism charges in south-western France recently after the country’s intelligence agency feared an attack against Jewish targets was imminent.
But the RAID team (Recherche, assistance, intervention, Dissuasion) got the wrong flat during the arrest of suspect Aurelien C. on Neuve Saint-Etienne street in Limoges, near the Saint-Etienne cathedral in the heart of the city, at 6am on Tuesday (26th May) morning.
The tactical police unit broke down the door of an elderly couple, residing on the ground floor of the building, terrifying the two occupants. Instead of taking the left corridor, the elite cops had all rushed down the right corridor.
The old woman’s daughter, not named in reports, told local media: “There was lots of them, all dressed in black, I would say between 15 and 20, with several cars and a dog.”
She arrived on the scene after her distressed elderly mother called her.
She added: “Maybe they rang the bell, but my mother is hard of hearing, so she must not have noticed. So she found herself with two armed policemen in her bedroom, armed and shining a flashlight in her face. They asked her where her son was, but she said ‘I don’t have a son’ and they quickly realised their mistake.
The tactical unit then made their way to the right flat.
One of the heads of the police operation quickly contacted the family to apologise and to say that they would be compensated.
The allegedly antisemitic, anti-Islam and anti-Freemason suspect was taken into custody after being arrested by the RAID, overseen by the French domestic intelligence agency, the Direction Generale de la Securite Interieure (DGSI; General Directorate for Internal Security) in the city of Limoges in the Haute-Vienne department in south-western France.
The authorities had found that the arrested man had been looking at the opening times of local synagogues, and already had an arsenal of weapons at home that included guns and explosive devices.
He has only been named in French media as Aurelien C. due to strict local privacy laws but he is reportedly 36 years old, a former soldier and a former Gilet Jaune (Yellow Vest).
He is reportedly a “supremacist” and his Facebook account is full of far-right ideology, including the French translation of Brenton Tarrant’s manifesto.
Brenton Tarrant is the man who attacked the mosques in Christchurch in New Zealand in March 2019.
Aurelien C. reportedly works in private security after having left the army. He is suspected of planning an attack against the Jewish community.
Investigators have yet to determine how far along his alleged plot was.
Reportedly deeply antisemitic and anti-Islam, the suspect is said to have glorified Tarrant, as well as the infamous Norwegian terrorist, Anders Breivik.
The tipping point for the intelligence authorities investigating him was when he started looking up local synagogues online. He was reportedly particularly interested in the opening dates for places of worship after the end of lockdown.
His hate speech was also reportedly increasingly aggressive and violent, and on 12th May, the national anti-terrorist prosecutor’s office (‘parquet national antiterroriste’; PNAT) opened an investigation into him for “criminal terrorist association”.
During a search of his home, investigators reportedly found incendiary devices such as mortars. They also reportedly found two firearms and ammunition.
Aurelien C. was born in 1983 and grew up in Limoges. He has been described as “solitary” and “isolated.” He joined the 2nd Regiment of Hussars, a French cavalry unit, in 2003. Three years later, he quit and began working in security.
According to French newspaper Le Parisien, the suspect was sentenced to five months in prison in December 2018 for illegally owning a firearm, a sentence that was confirmed on appeal in June 2019.
The illegal possession of a firearm reportedly took place during the Yellow Vest protest movement.
According to Le Parisien, he reportedly wrote on social media at the time: “Your Jewish and Freemason monuments, we will knock them down” and that he wanted to “kill the Republic”.
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