Police round up six suspected Islamic radicals

29th November 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Nov 29 (AFP) - French anti-terrorist police Tuesday arrested six suspected Islamic extremists, including a prison guard, as part of an investigation centered on money-laundering, sources close to the case said.

PARIS, Nov 29 (AFP) - French anti-terrorist police Tuesday arrested six suspected Islamic extremists, including a prison guard, as part of an investigation centered on money-laundering, sources close to the case said.

The arrests, which had initally been put at around 10, came in raids in the northwestern port of Saint Malo and in the western-central towns of Tours and Chateauroux.

The sources emphasized that those held were not suspected of planning terrorist attacks.

Among them were two former Muslim prison chaplains and a prison guard who appeared to play a key role, the sources said, adding that the latter's bank account was used for unusually large transactions.

All of those arrested attended the el-Fath mosque in the central town of Bourges, where the prison guard -- who lived nearby -- often led prayers.

A source close to the case said some of those arrested had travelled to various countries, including Pakistan and Bosnia-Hercegovina, and appeared to have engaged in "aggressive" proselytism in prison and at the mosque.

Since 2002, more than 370 suspected Islamic extremists have been arrested in France and nearly 100 have been jailed, according to interior ministry figures. Nineteen have been deported this year.

The government recently warned that France was the target of "real threats" in the form of attacks and has made moves to toughen its anti-terrorism legislation. A bill reinforcing certain measures, including expanded videosurveillance, was to be voted on by parliament Tuesday.

Authorities have been especially wary since the transport bombings in London in July. Since those attacks, France has kept its anti-terrorist alert level at red, the second-highest.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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