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France arrests Paris woman for 'al Qaeda links'

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An investigation by France's domestic intelligence agency led to the arrest of a 21-year-old Paris woman on Tuesday for her alleged links to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The suspect was arrested at her Belleville apartment in northern Paris.

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Officers with France’s DCRI domestic intelligence agency arrested a Paris woman on Tuesday suspected of having links to a regional branch of al Qaeda based in the Arabian Peninsula.

The 21-year-old was arrested as part of an investigation by officers with France’s Central Directorate of Homeland Intelligence, or DCRI, into a case of "criminal association in connection with a terrorist enterprise", said a source close to the investigation.

The source said the woman was arrested around 6:30am (4:30am GMT) at her apartment in the working-class Belleville district of northern Paris. She was the first to be arrested as part of a preliminary investigation that began in March 2013 into a conspiracy to commit terrorist acts.

The suspect is a reader of “Inspire” -- an online magazine published by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) -- and will be questioned about her suspected contacts with the group.

Based in Yemen, AQAP is considered one of the deadliest franchises of the international militant network.

“Inspire”, which aims to radicalise young Western Muslims and has included instructions on bomb making, has been linked to a number of attacks, including the Boston Marathon bombings of April 15 last year.

Copies of “Inspire” have been seized in other arrests of suspected radical Muslims in France. Earlier this month, French authorities arrested the webmaster of a site that published French-language translations of the magazine.

Security efforts have been stepped up in France following a series of attacks launched by al Qaeda-inspired gunman Mohamed Merah that killed seven people in and around the city of Toulouse in March of last year.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

 

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