Twelve held in Paris anti-terror swoop

15th June 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 15 (AFP) - French anti-terrorist officers arrested a dozen people in the Paris region Tuesday as part of an investigation into Islamic groups, police said.

PARIS, June 15 (AFP) - French anti-terrorist officers arrested a dozen people in the Paris region Tuesday as part of an investigation into Islamic groups, police said.

The raids netted two firearms and documents that were being analysed, an officer told AFP.

The suspects were being detained at the city's crime squad headquarters.

According to the source, the arrests were made after police learned last week of suspected "illegal activities" to do with terrorism, possibly dealing with money laundering or trade in fake identification papers.

"All that still has to be cleared up and verified," the officer said, adding that only questioning would determine whether the matter had more to do with terrorism or with crime.

The officer said the swoop had nothing to do with the June 8 arrest in Italy of Rabei Osman Sayed Ahmed, known as "Mohammed the Egyptian", suspected of masterminding the March 11 train bombings in Madrid that killed 191 people.

Italian media said Sayed Ahmed may have been plotting an attack on the Paris metro, but French authorities discounted those reports, saying their own investigations revealed no clear link.

French police said their arrests Tuesday resulted from surveillance of a mosque in the western Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret which they believed had been taken over by "radical" fundamentalists.

Isabelle Balkany, the deputy mayor of the suburb, said a Muslim prayer room provided by the municipality had been searched by police early Tuesday, but it was not immediately clear if the property was the "mosque" police were speaking of.

Balkany said "internal conflicts" between younger and older Muslims using the prayer room had emerged over the past year and a half, with the older men saying the association managing the facility "had been infiltrated by extremists".

© AFP

Subject: French news


0 Comments To This Article