googlead166c37c697d4d3.html Glenn Ashton Author Blog: Notre Dame Cathedral threatened with fire - again!

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Friday, September 9, 2016

Notre Dame Cathedral threatened with fire - again!



Terrorists tried to set off the Notre Dame Cathedral car bomb

A few minutes ago we learned that one of the women now under arrest tried to set off the car loaded with gas cylinders, that had been parked alongside the Seine, close to the Notre Dame cathedral:


“Madani was already known to intelligence services after trying several times to travel to Syria, the prosecutor said.
She had sworn allegiance to IS in a letter found in her handbag.
On Thursday, the woman identified as Sarah H., 23, stabbed a policeman in the shoulder who had been keeping watch on them from an unmarked car near the apartment, the investigator said.
Teams of police then swooped on the women and in the struggle, Madani was shot in the thigh and the ankle.
The 15-year-old daughter of 39-year-old Amel S., the third alleged member of the cell, has also been arrested and three other people are in custody.
The prosecutor said there was evidence that attempts had been made to light the gas cylinders found in the car near Notre Dame in the heart of Paris' tourist district.
"A half-smoked cigarette" and a piece of material soaked in flammable liquid found in the boot of the car had been used to try to light one of the gas cylinders.
Molins said if the fire had taken hold, "it would have led within minutes to the explosion of at least one of the cylinders which would have led to the destruction of the whole vehicle".”



This is not the first time that the famous 850-year old cathedral in the heart of Paris has been threatened with violence, involving fire. In my thriller, The Euros: Notre Dame Point Zero, an 1871 attempt to set fire to the cathedral is described:


“Knuckles and Control entered the operations room where the rest of The Euros team waited for a debriefing on the questions answered by the expert.
“They kept tight control over him,” Knuckles explained, as she placed her bones on the table before her, next to the folder with the written questions and answers. “Just inside the door a masked man asked for his name, and then selected one of three - I guess we could call them blinders – and fitted it to his head.”
“Blinders?” someone asked.
“Yes. A bit like those funnels you put on a dog’s head to stop it from scratching its ears after an operation. Or the blinkers sometimes used for horses, to narrow their field of vision. He says he could only see what was visible in the small tunnel in front of his head, nothing else. He could not move his head from side to side. The Bad Guy grabbed him and forced him to frog march into the cathedral. His hands were constrained, but left free enough so that he could use his sensing equipment to confirm that there were explosives in the places his guide said they were.”
“Did he hear any voices at all?”
“Earphones were placed on his head; the only thing he could hear after that was one voice.”
“Who spoke to him through the earphones?” the Headmaster asked.
Knuckles shook her head. “It was a second Bad Guy, not the one taking him on the tour. Both voices sounded almost the same: metallic, distorted. Sounds like the voice we hear on the phone.”
“What did the voice say?”
“He was warned to do only what he was told to do, or the little girl would be killed.”
“Where did they take him?”
“He was shown two of the pillars holding up the roof; both had thick layers of plastic explosives strapped around them. He thinks the pillars would be badly damaged if the explosives were triggered. And this could endanger the roof, but he doesn’t know enough about it to be firm on this point.”
“Any other explosive caches shown to him?”
“He saw through the grille around the choir stalls more explosives stacked near the Pieta statue. And as he was taken back to the door, he saw explosive cords right around the doorway, and packages of what he assumed were more explosives.”
She looked up at Control.
“We should assume every door into Notre Dame is also primed to blow,” she said.
“My God!” the Historian exclaimed, his head snapping up as he remembered something. “The roof! There is a forest of wooden beams up there, all old and dry! I forgot to tell you when we talked about similarities between the old Commune and these men, but in 1871, the rebels marched into the cathedral and forced the clergy out. Then they plundered the Treasury. When they started to withdraw, they brought two wagons loaded with petroleum, to set fire to the cathedral.”
His pale face showed his horror.
“They piled up chairs in five different spots, poured petroleum over them and added gunpowder. A fire was started in the choir, and caused some damage; it also burned the altar and some of the flagstones. The heat from the burning chairs melted seven of the bronze lamps that were hanging from the roof. But then the rebels feared the fire might reach the Hôtel-Dieu, where some rebels were being treated, so they did not spread it. Instead, they fled, and people rushed in to save it.”
He grasped Knuckle’s arm.
“Did he say anything about what explosives have been put in the roof?”
She shook her head. “He was not taken up the stairs to the roof, but he was told that explosives had also been placed in the roof.”
The Historian screwed his eyes shut, clasped his hands before him, and started a silent prayer.
“Nor did they tell him where the roof explosives had been placed,” she continued.”


We can expect that the French security services will step up their guard on this venerable cathedral.


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