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Six people arrested in France over theft of Banksy artwork from Bataclan



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Six people have been arrested in France over the theft of an artwork created by Banksy, which commemorated the victims of the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris.

Thieves used an angle grinder to remove the mural of a mourning girl from a steel security door at the Bataclan concert hall, where 90 people died during a wave of shootings and bombings across the city that left 130 dead.

Earlier this month, the Banksy work, stencilled in white paint, was found in good condition after a joint operation by French and Italian police.

Police arrested two people, who have been put under investigation for organised theft, and another four who have been accused of concealing theft.

All are currently in custody, awaiting trial.

Italian Carabinieri pose near a piece of art attributed to Banksy, that was stolen at the Bataclan in Paris in 2019 (Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP)

The artwork, part of a series made by Banksy during a visit to Paris in 2018, was stolen from the Bataclan in January 2019.

Video footage is available showing how hooded thieves cut through the fire door to steal the artwork, with the theft causing widespread anger in France.

The Bataclan referred to it as a “symbol of remembrance” which “belongs to all: locals, Parisians, citizens of the world”.

On 13 November 2015 in the French capital, terrorists carried out a series of shootings and suicide bombings, which were described by the the president at the time François Hollande as an “act of war”.

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In total 130 people were killed, with the Islamic State later claiming responsibility.

French and Italian police said on June 10 that they found the work in an abandoned farmhouse in Italy’s central east Abruzzo region.

One of the French policeman who intervened in the 2015 Bataclan attack was present when the door was found, and was overcome with emotion, according to the crime unit at the French embassy in Rome.

Last November, French prosecutors announced 20 suspects would go on trial for the terrorist attacks in Paris, including Salah Abdeslam, who is suspected of being the sole surviving member of the group of heavily armed gunmen and bombers.

Mr Abdeslam was arrested in Belgium several months later after an international manhunt, and sentenced to 20 years in prison for the attempted murder of police officers in a shootout in Brussels in March 2016.

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