Villepin warns of increased terrorist threat

17th November 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Nov 17 (AFP) - The terrorist threat to France has never been as strong as it is today, prime minister Dominique de Villepin warned Thursday at a government conference on terrorism.

PARIS, Nov 17 (AFP) - The terrorist threat to France has never been as strong as it is today, prime minister Dominique de Villepin warned Thursday at a government conference on terrorism.

"Never has the terrorist threat been so high. It is all the more serious because it has changed in nature," the prime minister said in a closing address.

"It depends on a complex organisational system which brings together extremist preachers implanted on our territory, individuals who are often well integrated and speak our language, and organisers well-versed in the most modern technology," he said.

"As for their mode of operation, we know that terrorist groups will not shrink from any type of action -- whether it is recourse to non-conventional chemical, bacteriological and radiological weapons or suicide attacks," he said.

The conference brought together anti-terrorist police and magistrates as well as researchers and business leaders.

At the same conference, interior ministry officials said Thursday that a total of 22 French nationals have been formally identified after joining the anti-US insurgency in Iraq and at least two of them have died in suicide attacks,.

Of the 22, seven -- including the suicide bombers -- are known to be have been killed, two are in prison and the whereabouts of the other 13 are uncertain.

Officials have previously spoken of a rough figure of around 20 French nationals fighting the United States in Iraq.

Twice this year -- in January and September -- police have detained suspects in an investigation into alleged recruiting networks for Iraq, but most of those held were released. Three remain in custody.

"Nowadays we don't just import suicide-bombers, we export them," the tough-talking interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy told delegates at the conference, who included police, judges, researchers and business leaders.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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