Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

17 Detained in France on Suspicion of Militant Ties ; Multiple Raids Conducted around Country in Bid to Dismantle Extremist Cells

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

17 Detained in France on Suspicion of Militant Ties ; Multiple Raids Conducted around Country in Bid to Dismantle Extremist Cells

Article excerpt

Eight days after the police shot and killed the self-confessed killer of seven people, elite units on Friday raided localities in several parts of the country and detained 17 people described as Islamic militants.

Eight days after the police shot and killed the confessed killer of four Jews and three French paratroopers in southwestern France, elite units on Friday raided localities in several parts of the country and detained 17 people described as Islamic militants.

In the early hours, officers raided addresses in Toulouse -- where the gunman, Mohammed Merah, 23, was killed after a 30-hour siege last week -- in the Paris region and in southern and western cities, including Nantes, French news reports said. Two people were held briefly and released, while 17 others remained in custody.

President Nicolas Sarkozy said Kalashnikov assault rifles had been seized in the raids, which, he told Europe 1 radio, "are going to continue" and would lead to "a certain number of people" being expelled from France.

"What must be understood is that the trauma of Montauban and Toulouse is profound for our country, a little -- I don't want to compare the horrors -- a little like the trauma that followed in the United States and in New York after the September 11, 2001, attacks," he told Europe 1.

The raids came just weeks before the first round of a presidential election in which law-and-order issues could swing decisive votes. Mr. Sarkozy is thus seeking to project an image of firm leadership and resolve in the face of a broader threat.

The authorities drew no immediate link between those arrested and the shootings, which happened in March. Mr. Sarkozy had earlier demanded that the police evaluate the threat presented by people regarded as sympathetic to militant Islam.

In three attacks spread over several days, Mr. Merah was accused of killing the three French soldiers before attacking a Jewish school in Toulouse last week, killing three children and a rabbi. The killings were all the more lurid in light of Mr. Merah's claim to have filmed them as he shot his victims using a handgun before speeding away on a motorbike.

The Paris bureau of the Al Jazeera satellite broadcaster said this week that a copy of the video had been sent to its offices but that it had decided against broadcasting the images. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.