Judges have completed a marathon investigation into the 2015 Paris terror attacks in which 130 died, paving the way for a trial, say prosecutors.
Four years after the deadliest Islamic terrorist rampage on French soil, some 14 people – including 11 currently in custody – face terror charges in connection with the killings at the Bataclan concert hall and bars and restaurants of eastern Paris, as well as the stade de France national football stadium.
Among those facing trial is Salah Abdelsam, the only living member of the three commandos that perpetrated the attacks and who is currently being held in solitary confinement in France, three and a half years after being arrested in a shoot-out in Brussels.
Six other suspects, presumed dead in Syria or Iraq, are the subject of an international arrest warrant.
These include Fabien Clain, a Frenchman who is believed to have gone to Syria in March 2015 and who later announced the Islamic State’s claim of responsibility for the Paris attacks in an audio recording.
"This is good news," said Jean Reinhart, a lawyer for dozens of the victims.
"It’s something we’ve eagerly been waiting for to help establish the truth."
The probe by five judges is set out in 460 legal dossiers. There are some 1,740 civil plaintiffs.
France’s national anti-terror prosecutor has a month to present their case to the judges, who will make a final decision on a trial, expected sometime next year.
On November 13, 2015 armed Islamists staged a series of coordinated attacks in the French capital with guns and explosive vests, killing 130 and wounding a further 350 people.
Isil claimed responsibility and investigations led police notably to Brussels, where several arrests took place. Brussels was hit by a terror blast at Brussels airport and metro on 22 March, 2016 in an attack linked to the Paris strikes.
Since then, France has been hit by a series of jihadist attacks that have killed more than 250 people.
In a separate development on Monday, investigators said they had finished their probe into a jihadist attack on a high-speed Thalys train between Amsterdam and Paris in August 2015.
Ayoub El Khazzani, a Moroccan citizen, opened fire with an AK-47, wounding two people before being overpowered by three Americans on holiday, two of them off-duty servicemen.
Investigators say he acted under the orders of Abdelhamid Abaaoud, seen as the operational mastermind of the Paris attacks in November.
Abaaoud and his accomplice Chakib Akrouh were killed in a police raid at an apartment outside Paris on November 18, five days after the attacks.
No trial date has been set for Khazzani and four others charged in the Thalys attack.