French police thwart alleged Islamist terrorist plot

French police recently thwarted an alleged Islamist terrorist plot to target the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and a nuclear power plant.

France revealed the plot on Wednesday as it unveiled new, tougher anti-terrorism laws. The plans were in the discussion stage when French police arrested Ali M, the 29-year-old Algerian butcher who allegedly helped plan the attacks, in June 2013, Telegraph reports.

Ali M, who went by the pseudonym Abu Jaji, allegedly sent coded messages to one of the highest-ranking members in al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). He allegedly made suggestions on how to conduct jihad in France, including targeting nuclear power plans, French landmarks and the Louvre museum.

Ali M's contact allegedly asked him to travel with a fellow would-be terrorist for military training, after which he would return to France, stake out targets and await instructions. French police decoded the messages and arrested Ali M a month before he was due to fly to Tunisia and then onto Algeria for training.

France released the information about the plot as Bernard Cazeneuve, France's interior minister, unveiled stricter anti-terrorism laws. The laws include proposals to ban a suspect from leaving the country if it is thought he might fight jihad abroad.

Marc Trevidic, a high-profile French anti-terrorism judge, said the Ali M case was no isolated incident.

"There are doubtless others on our soil programmed to harm French interests," Trevidic said, according to Telegraph.

Approximately 800 French nationals or residents are thought to have left France to fight in Syria since the civil war began, Telegraph reports.