Nine terror suspects to remain in French police custody

Philippe Desmazes, AFP | French police

Nine suspects arrested Friday in anti-terror raids following attacks in Paris had their interrogations prolonged by 48 hours on Sunday, a step allowed under France’s tough anti-terror laws. Three female suspects were released on Saturday.


French police have released three women arrested Friday and will continue to interrogate nine others who were detained in an anti-terror sweep connected to last week’s attacks in Paris that has put Europe on high alert.

Paris prosecutor spokesman Denis Fauriat said the nine suspects will have their interrogations prolonged by 48 hours, a step allowed under France’s tough anti-terror laws.

Police in France, Germany, Belgium and Ireland have arrested dozens of suspects in recent days as part of the crackdown on terrorism sparked by last week’s bloody spree in and around Paris, in which brothers Said and Chérif Kouachi and their friend Amédy Coulibaly killed 17 people at the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, a kosher grocery, and elsewhere.

Fallout from the attacks has spread around the world. Demonstrations in support of the murdered Charlie Hebdo journalists have been held in countries from the United States to Brazil, and violent protests against the magazine’s depictions of the Prophet Muhammad have taken place in Niger, Pakistan and Algeria.

French authorities banned an anti-Islamist demonstration in Paris Sunday, and a German group protesting what it calls “the Islamisation of the West” called off a rally planned in the eastern city of Dresden on Monday after a terrorist threat against one of its organisers.

Meanwhile, Italy’s interior minister said that nine suspected jihadis have been expelled from the Mediterranean country since December, and vowed more expulsions in a heightened crackdown on terrorism.

In Belgium, police on Thursday launched a vast anti-terrorism sweep in and around Brussels and the eastern industrial city of Verviers, which left two suspects dead. Police say the suspects were within hours of implementing a plan to kill police.

On Saturday, soldiers fanned out to guard possible terror targets in Belgium while police in Greece detained at least two terrorism suspects.

Authorities say there was no apparent link between the foiled plots in Belgium and the terror attacks in Paris.

President François Hollande said France was “waging war” on terrorism and it showed on the streets of Paris and elsewhere, where 122,000 police and well-armed troops have been deployed to protect the country.

Two of the three terrorists responsible for the attacks in France were buried over the weekend. Said Kouachi was buried in Reims in eastern France and his younger brother Chérif was buried in a suburb of Paris. Both were given anonymous graves in a bid to prevent their tombs from being turned into shrines for radicals.

There has been no word on burial plans for Coulibaly, the third Paris gunman who murdered five people before he was killed by police Jan. 9.


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