"Nationalist" accused of plot to attack French leader, minorities

French President Emmanuel Macron waves as he attends a ceremony marking the 77th anniversary of late French General Charles de Gaulle's resistance call of June 18, 1940, at the Mont Valerien memorial in Suresnes, near Paris, France, on Sun., June 18, 2017.

Reuters

PARIS -- French authorities say a man has been given preliminary terrorism charges for plotting a possible attack on President Emmanuel Macron or minority groups.

Paris prosecutor's office spokeswoman Agnes Thibault-Lecuivre said Monday that the 23-year-old suspect's plans were vague and not yet finalized, and that he appeared to be acting alone.

According to French news agency AFP, the suspect is a self-described nationalist who told investigators he wanted to kill Macron at the July 14 Bastille Day parade in Paris.

The AFP report, which cited anonymous sources close to the investigation, said the suspect had also expressed a desire to attack "Muslims, Jews, blacks, homosexuals."  

Thibault-Lecuivre said the man was arrested in the Argenteuil suburb Thursday, and told police of a possible plan to attack Macron on Bastille Day on July 14 and expressed "nationalist" views. The man was given preliminary charges Saturday of individual terrorist activity.

Europe has seen a rash of attacks by Islamic extremists, many of them claiming allegiance to ISIS, in recent years, but the terrorism charges against an individual with far-right, nationalistic views are not a first. 

In June, authorities in Britain charged a man from Wales with terrorism offenses for driving a rented van into a crowed of Muslim worshipers outside a mosque in London. That attack left one man dead. 

Police were alerted to the suspect in France by users of a video game chatroom who told police he had said he wanted to buy a firearm, according to AFP.

Macron will oversee a military parade in Paris on Bastille Day alongside President Trump. Macron then heads to Nice to mark the anniversary of the Islamic extremist truck attack that killed 86 people in the southeastern city.