Suspected Algerian militant detained in Marseille

14th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, July 13 (AFP) - A suspected member of Algeria's hardline Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) believed to have close ties to Osama bin Laden has been detained in southern France, court sources said Wednesday.

PARIS, July 13 (AFP) - A suspected member of Algeria's hardline Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) believed to have close ties to Osama bin Laden has been detained in southern France, court sources said Wednesday.

Othman Deramchi, also known as Abu Yusef, was detained in the French port city of Marseille in a joint operation conducted by French and Italian agents after Italy issued a Europe-wide warrant for his arrest.

Deramchi, 51, was wanted by Italy following his sentencing there to eight years in prison on charges of trafficking false identity papers in connection with terrorist activities.

The GSPC has become the principal extremist group in Algeria's Islamist rebellion that has left some 150,000 people dead since 1992. It was allegedly founded on Bin Laden's instructions.

Deramchi's name figures on a list of people considered to be close to Bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda network whose assets have been frozen by the European Commission, the European Union's executive arm.

The US State Department lists the GSPC -- a splinter group of Algeria's other radical movement, the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) -- as a terrorist organization, and considers it linked to Al-Qaeda.

Last year the group kidnapped 32 European tourists, some of whom were held hostage for six months in southern Algeria.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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