Notorious Venezuelan militant cell leader Carlos the Jackal went on trial on Monday in Paris accused of carrying out four deadly bombings in France that killed 11 people and wounded almost 150.

The 62-year-old has made no secret of his past as the leader of a gang that carried out attacks on behalf of Warsaw Pact intelligence agencies and far-left or pro-Palestinian causes, but denies the latest French charges.

“I'm a professional revolutionary,” he told judge Olivier Leurent, appearing cheerful and relaxed if a little more pot-bellied, grey and balding than in his heyday as an international conspirator responsible for hundreds of deaths.

Appearing in jeans and a blue jacket, Carlos Ilich Ramirez Sanchez waved and gave the clenched fist salute to a motley collection of well-wishers struggling to find space alongside dozens of journalists.

He leaned on the glass screen around the dock, smiling and chatting with his guards, and appeared entirely unconcerned. — AFP