France Trial By Terror

A courtroom drama in Nantes

It was 10:30 a.m., and the trial of four armed-robbery suspects was under way inside the columned, gray stone courthouse in the city of Nantes. Suddenly the measured pace of the legal proceedings was shattered as a man burst into the courtroom firing shots into the air and brandishing a hand grenade. Judge, jury, lawyers and a roomful of spectators dove for cover under tables and desks. The intruder, later identified as Abdelkarim Khalki, 33, quickly stripped five court officers of their .357 Magnum pistols and turned them over to two of the defendants. The 34 people in the courtroom had...

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