Spain arrests suspected terrorist arms supplier
April 14 2016 12:02 AM
This handout image released yesterday by the Spanish interior ministry shows Frenchman Antoine Denevi


Spanish police said yesterday that they had detained a Frenchman suspected of heading a weapons trafficking ring that supplied arms to one of the Islamic militants who killed 17 people in Paris in January 2015.
In a statement, police said Antoine Denevi, a 27-year-old from a small town in northern France, was detained on Tuesday in the southern Malaga area after Paris issued a Europe-wide arrest warrant.
He “left the neighbouring country (France) weeks after the Paris attacks to escape police action, and settled in the province of Malaga from where he continued his illegal activities using fake papers”, the police said. “It’s also been determined that his activities were linked with people of Serbian origin, who may have facilitated his access to arms and munitions.”
Police suspect that Denevi’s alleged trafficking ring armed Amedy Coulibaly, who shot dead a policewoman and took hostages in a Jewish supermarket, where he killed four people.
An expert in arms trafficking in France told AFP that the weapons used by Coulibaly – a Czech-made Scorpion submachinegun and a Kalashnikov rifle – were “very easily” available.
Coulibaly was an accomplice of the Kouachi brothers, who killed 12 people in an attack on the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo two days before Coulibaly held up the supermarket.
All three were shot dead by police.
Both Spanish and French police participated in Tuesday’s operation in the seaside resort of Rincon de la Victoria, during which two other people were detained – one from Serbia and another from Montenegro.
Denevi, who hails from the small town of Sainte-Catherine in the French region of Pas-de-Calais, was immediately taken to Madrid, where he was brought before a judge in the National Court.
The National Court, which hears cases related to extremism, has charged Denevi with arms trafficking.
So far no terrorism charges have been brought against him, which could indicate that he was unaware of the use for which the weapons were intended.
A judicial source, who wished to remain anonymous, said that the suspect had denied selling weapons to Islamic militants and accepted to be extradited to France.
The three-day attacks in January 2015 shook France, prompting much soul-searching as to how three French youths could gun down 17 fellow citizens in cold blood.
The trio had very specific targets – the cartoonists who had mocked the Prophet Muhammad in Charlie Hebdo’s pages, the police, and Jews.
Coulibaly was shot dead in the Jewish supermarket on January 9 in a raid by French special forces.
The Kouachi brothers were also killed by special forces in a near-simultaneous assault on a printing factory just outside Paris where they had holed up.
The three-day killing spree was, at the time, the worst extremist attack on European soil in nearly a decade, but terrorists hit Paris again in November, killing 130 people.

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