The judges considered there was sufficient evidence to characterise his actions as a “plan to commit an attack” against the Mediterranean naval base in Toulon by attacking sailors “with a knife” and “die as a martyr”.
After a breakup and a period of unemployment, Marnissi, who worked in fashion, had started to isolate himself, telling the court he spent his days on the computer.
In 2013 he started to attend a mosque where he met Mustafa Mokeddem, who had spent several months in prison for making violent threats against Charlie Hebdo and had bought knives to “butcher” its cartoonists.
Marnissi by now had attracted the attention of the intelligence agencies and was barred from leaving France. In October 2015 he was detained after receiving two parcels, one containing balaclavas and the other a knife with a 10-centimetre (four-inch) blade.
While in custody he said that after failing to make it to Syria, Mokeddem prompted him to take action in France, against the Toulon base, which is home to 70 per cent of the French fleet and 20,000 military and civilian personnel.
He went back on those remarks Monday, claiming to have been “trapped by the police” while in custody.
“There was no plan to act,” he said. Mokeddem had mentioned an attack on the base “in the tone of a joke,” he said.
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