France Arrests 10 in Terror Crackdown

Posted April 4th, 2012 at 7:25 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

French police arrested 10 people in a series of pre-dawn raids, part on an ongoing crackdown against suspected Islamic extremists.

Wednesday's raids targeted Roubaix, near the border with Belgium, and the southern port city of Marseille.

French officials speaking on the condition of anonymity said the 10 suspects were tracked on extremist websites and had expressed a willingness to wage jihad . Some may also have been trying to attend jihadist training camps along the Afghan-Pakistan border.

This is the second time in less than a week that French authorities have conducted sweeps targeting suspected Muslim militants. Police arrested at least 13 suspects in operations Friday.

The sweeps come just weeks ahead of France's hotly contested presidential election. Conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy is locked in a political battle with Socialist candidate Francois Hollande.

French officials promised the crackdown following last month's killing of three children, a rabbi and three soldiers outside a Jewish school in Toulouse.

The suspect, Mohamed Merah, died in a gunbattle with police. He claimed he belonged to al-Qaida and wanted to avenge the deaths of Palestinian children in the Mideast and French involvement in Afghanistan.