French police arrested at least four people in the Paris region on Tuesday as part of an investigation into Islamic extremism in the country and abroad. It is believed they planned to travel from France to join militant groups in the Sahel.
At least four people were arrested in the Paris region on Tuesday as part of an operation targeting Islamic extremism in France and abroad.
French Interior Minister Manuel Valls confirmed the arrests Tuesday morning on France’s BFM television and RMC radio, explaining that they had been made as part of a larger investigation into a group linked to extremists based in Africa’s Sahel region.
The raid was ordered by the country’s domestic intelligence agency, the DCRI, under the authority of anti-terrorism judge Marc Trévidic. It is believed the four arrested planned to travel from France to join Islamist militant groups in the Sahel.
First arrests since Mali intervention
The arrests are the first since France staged a military intervention in Mali last month to repel an offensive by Islamist rebels, which has raised concerns about possible reprisal attacks on French interests at home and abroad.
“We have to continue efforts to dismantle networks that want to act either on our soil or to send individuals out on Jihad, to learn terrorism techniques in Syria – there are a lot of them – as well as in the Sahel,” Valls said.
“There are a number of people who want to travel to the Sahel. So we have to prevent them, arrest them, neutralise them,” the interior minister added. “There are probably a handful of French citizens already in the Sahel.”
(FRANCE 24 with wires)
Date created : 2013-02-05