France arrests several alleged Kurdish PKK militants

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French intelligence officers acting on a warrant from an anti-terrorism judge arrested several members of the Kurdish separatist group the PKK on Tuesday, an official told AFP.

In an operation led by officers of the DCRI intelligence agency, police targeted several addresses in the south of the country, including a Kurdish cultural centre in the port city of Marseille, the source said.

The PKK, which is listed as a terrorist group by Ankara and much of the international community, has been battling for an independent homeland in southeastern Turkey since 1984, in a conflict that has claimed 45,000 lives.

The arrests were authorised by Thierry Fragnoli, a Paris magistrate charged with investigating terrorist offences. The operation targeted a half-dozen individuals, but it was not immediately clear how many had been caught.

Since 2009 there have been several raids against suspected PKK militants and financiers in southern France, where cities like Marseille often have substantial Kurdish expatriate communities.

© 2011 AFP

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