PARIS (Aug. 17)
The Public Prosecutor’s office in the Mediterranean port of Toulon Tuesday opened an investigation into an explosion that Killed four members of an extreme right-wing group apparently on their way to plant a bomb.
Investigators in Toulon ascertained that the four killed in Monday’s blast were all members of the group “SOS France,” set up earlier this year with the aim of “defending the interests of French citizens.”
The victims included the group’s president, Claude Nobilia, who split with Jean-Marie le Pen’s extremist National Front because he viewed it as too moderate.
The pre-dawn explosion occurred not far from the offices of the group “SOS Racism,” which has sought to direct public attention to racist attitudes in French society.
Legal sources said about 30 people were taken in for questioning by police following the attack, but none was detained.
Investigators were trying to determine whether the “SOS France” group was linked in any way to a mysterious group calling itself the “French Commando Against the Maghreb Invasion” which claimed responsibility for a number of anti-Arab attacks in June in Toulon and in Marseille and Nice.
Sources close to the extreme right-wing movement in Toulon denied that the four had any intention of planting a bomb and said instead they had fallen victim to an attack after leaving a meeting.
The National Front, which won more than 30 seats in Parliament in last March’s parliamentary election, said it had nothing to do with the explosion, but said it could “only be satisfied” with the “death sentence directly meted out to the occupants of the car.”