Nine arrested over Sarkozy bullet threats

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French anti-terrorist police arrest nine people in southern France linked to sending letters containing bullets to the French president and other right-wing officials.

Paris – French anti-terrorist police arrested nine people on Thursday suspected of sending letters containing bullets to President Nicolas Sarkozy and other right-wing officials, officials said.

Threatening letters signed by an unknown group – "The Combatants of Cell 34" – have been sent to Sarkozy and eight of his ministers and political allies since late 2008.

In the latest, an envelope containing a large calibre hunting bullet and addressed to Sarkozy was discovered in August in a mail sorting station in the Mediterranean city of Montpellier.

Police detained nine people for questioning in two towns near Montpellier, Saint-Chinian and Saint-Pons-de-Thomieres, said an official connected with the investigation.

One suspect is a former military officer, according to RTL radio.

"At this point, investigators are still very prudent about the level of involvement of the nine arrested," added the official.

Investigators believe the threats, which demand a halt to France's expulsion of illegal immigrants and the release from jail of a leader of the armed leftist group Action Directe, came from left-wing extremists.

A computer programmer and military reservist from Montpellier was arrested in March in connection with the case but released after someone claiming to be the letter writer sent his lawyer details of the bullets used.

AFP / Expatica

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