Terror suspect ‘used gay dating apps to lure potential victims’

Police in France after a 2015 terror attack

A terror suspect was arrested in France after allegedly using gay dating apps to seek men online.

French-language newspaper La Parisien reports that the 23-year-old man, identified only as AB, was one of two suspects arrested June 9 in Seine-et-Marne, near Paris.

According to the newspaper, police reports state that AB was under surveillance from France’s General Directorate for Internal Security as a suspected member of an extremist Islamic group.

Suspect ‘used gay dating apps’ to target men

Officials noted that the man had been engaging with gay men online on dating websites Lovoo and Rencontre Ados, suspecting him of seeking potential victims via the apps.

AB is believed to have approached around 20 men via the services, using a picture of a blond man on his profile and seeking to meet up with them in person.

One of the potential victims, identified as X, told investigators that he grew suspicious after speaking to AB over the phone, as he had a thick accent that X believed did not match the man in his profile picture.

Logos for gay dating apps are seen on a phone

File photo. Logos for gay dating apps are seen on a phone. (Leon Neal/Getty)

X, who is underage, went to the police with his mother after AB allegedly attempted to coax him into a real-life meeting.

AB was arrested the next day.

The suspect told police he was a “practising Muslim but against terrorism,” but a search reportedly revealed he had 7,000 ISIS-related images. He had also sent messages on encrypted messaging app Telegram in which he referred to a secret “project,” according to the report.

Police also raided the home of BE, a school friend of AB, and found two knives and a makeshift gun.

LGBT people have faced several terrorist plots

A teenager in Germany was arrested in September after allegedly plotting a bomb attack on a gay nightclub.

The Associated Press reported that the arrest came after intelligence was provided by the United States that indicated the teen was planning attacks on a gay venue and a Catholic church in the city.

Gay venues have been targeted by terrorists on a number of occasions.

A neo-Nazi nail bomb attack killed three people at London’s Admiral Duncan pub in 1999, while 49 people died at the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando in 2016.

In 2017, the French Interior Minister announced that officers had averted a terrorist “plan of violent action” targeting “Parisian nightclubs and in particular gay clubs.”

Meanwhile, an ISIS-inspired teacher in east London was convicted in March 2018 of plotting attacks on gay bars and public landmarks in London.