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French police arrest six in anti-terrorism raids

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-06-25

Six people suspected of planning terrorist acts on well-known figures in France were arrested in a series of raids in the Paris region on Monday night.

French police arrested six members of an Islamic terrorist cell early Monday suspected of planning attacks against well-known figures in France, according to sources close to the investigation.

The suspects are all in custody after coordinated raids across the Paris region.

The suspects were all previously known to the police, and are suspected of being involved in a bank robbery in the Seine-et-Marne department and “planning to commit other armed robberies,” a police source told AFP news agency.

The group includes four French nationals, as well as a man from Benin and another from Comoros. They are all aged between 22 and 38.

According to French law, the suspects can be held for questioning for five days before being charged or released.

'Biggest terrorist threat since 1990s'

A French prosecutor said the suspected Islamist radicals represent the biggest terror threat the country had faced since the Algerian-based GIA carried out a string of deadly bombings in the 1990s, according to AFP.

Last month Interior Minister Manuel Valls said France was “facing a global terrorist threat” that was “elevated and affects the entire planet”.

France has seen a marked increase in terrorist threats in recent years, with many analysts citing the country’s foreign policy agenda as the source.

Back in May, a 22-year-old man was arrested for stabbing a French soldier in the Paris business district of La Defense. Sources described the suspect as a hard-line Muslim, although he did not appear to be a member of any terrorist group. Furthermore, French police took down a group in October 2012 suspected of carrying out a grenade attack on a Jewish grocery store in the Parisian suburb of Sarcelles.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2013-06-25

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