• France edition
 

French police swoop on 'Islamic extremists'

Published: 30 Mar 2012 09:57 GMT+02:00
Updated: 30 Mar 2012 09:57 GMT+02:00

French police arrested about 20 suspected Islamists in dawn raids on Friday, most of them in the hometown of an extremist who was shot dead by police last week after a killing spree.

Agents from France's DCRI domestic intelligence agency swooped in to carry out the arrests, most of them in the southern city of Toulouse a day after Al-Qaeda-inspired gunman Mohamed Merah was buried there, sources close to the investigation said.

The arrests were "not directly linked" to the Merah investigation, but were aimed at dismantling Islamist networks, one source said. 

Some of the arrests also targetted people in the western city of Nantes.

The arrests came a day after Merah, who was shot dead by a police sniper on March 22 at the end of a 32-hour siege at his flat in Toulouse, was buried in the city under heavy police watch.

The 23-year-old had shot dead three soldiers, and three children and a teacher at a Jewish school in a killing spree that shocked the country.

The man branded a "monster" by French leaders was laid to rest in Toulouse's Cornebarrieu cemetery after his family's homeland Algeria refused to accept the body, citing security concerns.

French authorities have charged Merah's brother Abdelkader with complicity in the attacks and said they were looking for other accomplices.

Abdelkader Merah was charged with helping his sibling steal the powerful Yamaha scooter used in the shootings and police have said they were seeking a third person who may have been involved in the theft.

Merah recorded his killings with a camera strapped to his body and police have said an accomplice may have been involved in mailing a montage of the videos to Al-Jazeera.

The video was reportedly sent to the channel's Paris bureau from outside Toulouse while Merah was already besieged in his flat by police.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy vowed a crackdown on Islamist extremists in the wake of the killings, saying earlier this week that he had ordered the domestic intelligence agency to "check in detail the situation in our country of all persons identified as a potential risk to national security".

On Thursday France banned four Muslim preachers from entering the country to attend an Islamic conference, saying their "calls for hatred and violence" were a threat to public order.

Saudi clerics Ayed Bin Abdallah al-Qarni and Abdallah Basfar, Egyptian cleric Safwat al-Hijazi and a former mufti of Jerusalem Akrama Sabri are banned from entering France, a statement said.

"These people's positions and statements calling for hatred and violence seriously damage republican principles and, in the current context, represent a serious threat to public order," said the statement from Foreign Minister Alain Juppé and Interior Minister Claude Guéant.

Your comments about this article

2012-04-20 00:56:20 by nathan45
Immigration from the middle east what a grand idea.
Today's headlines
France launches fresh strikes against IS in Iraq
Kurdish Peshmerga fighters hold a position at a frontline in Yangije in September. Photo: JM Lopez/AFP

France launches fresh strikes against IS in Iraq

French fighter jets have carried out a third round of air strikes against Islamic State jihadists in support of Iraqi ground forces, the defence ministry said on Monday. READ  

French GPs urged to strike over Christmas
Don't be ill over Christmas in France. Stethoscope photo: Shutterstock

French GPs urged to strike over Christmas

You might have more reason than ever not to fall sick over Christmas if you're in France this year. GPs are being urged by unions to shut up their surgeries over the Christmas period in protest against a new government health bill. READ  

IN IMAGES
'Glass ship' Vuitton museum opens in Paris
The Louis Vuitton art museum, which takes the form of a sailboat amongst the trees of the Bois de Boulogne, consists of twelve huge sails in glass. Photo: Bertrand Guay/AFP

'Glass ship' Vuitton museum opens in Paris

Emerging from the woods at the edge of Paris like a glass ship, the hyper-modern Louis Vuitton art museum will be inaugurated on Monday, kicking off an art-filled week in the French capital. READ  

A Made in France 'Halal test' to check for pork
In a similar style to a pregnancy test, the test consists of a strip which the consumer must put into a glass of warm water containing a sample of food. Photo: halaltest.fr

A Made in France 'Halal test' to check for pork

A French company has developed a so-called “Halal test” which will allow Muslim consumers to detect, within a matter minutes, the presence of pork or alcohol in food. READ  

Paris traffic jams will become world's costliest
Traffic jams in Paris are set to become the costliest in the world, according to one survey. Photo: AFP

Paris traffic jams will become world's costliest

Anyone who has ever been for a drive through Paris will know exactly what it's like to get stuck in a traffic jam, but it's not just time they are wasting, it's money too, and lots of it. And things are about to get a lot worse. READ  

Franco-German talks
France steps up pleas for Germany to invest
Photo: Economy minister Emmanuel Macron, President François Hollande and finance minister Minchel Sapin will be hoping to persuade Germany to invest for in Europe. Photo: Philipe Wojazer/AFP

France steps up pleas for Germany to invest

French ministers were in Berlin on Monday for talks aimed at ways to boost growth the eurozone's two biggest economies. Paris has reiterated calls for Berlin to invest more to help spark life in both the French economy and that of the eurozone. READ  

Ask the Expert -Letting a flat
How to rent out a second home in France legally
Renting out a second home in France can be complicated. Here's how to do it. Photo: Shutterstock

How to rent out a second home in France legally

The French property market has changed significantly in recent years, leading to much confusion among foreigners. Andy Denison, director of an expat advice service, explains how to stay on the right side of the law when renting out a second home in France. READ  

Ligue 1 round-up
VIDEO: Mass brawl after Corsica flag unfurled
Bastia's French goalkeeper Jean Louis Leca holds the flag of Corsica before it sparked a mass brawl involving fans and players.

VIDEO: Mass brawl after Corsica flag unfurled

It was an eventful weekend in Ligue 1 with a mass brawl in Nice involving players and fans sparked by the unfurling of a Corsica flag, a record-equalling win for taple topping Marseille and a PSG - Lens match marred by red cards. Catch up on all the latest action here. READ  

France's veil laws
Paris Opera ejects woman for wearing veil
Staff at the Paris Opera in Bastille told a veiled woman to leave during a performance of La Traviata. Photo: Panoramas/Flickr- Miguel Medina/AFP

Paris Opera ejects woman for wearing veil

France will urgently update its law around the wearing of full face veils in public after it emerged a female spectator was told to leave the Paris Opera during a performance La Traviata after singers spotted her wearing a niqab. READ  

France scoops world blind wine-tasting prize

France scoops world blind wine-tasting prize

France won the world blind wine-tasting competition for teams, unseating reigning champion Belgium on Saturday READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
International
How a giant 'sex toy' earned an American artist a slap in Paris
National
'Unlike in the US the French don't put the blame on the poor'
Gallery
Cover up and don't be too Latin: French travel warnings for the US
Society
Macholand: The online uprising against sexism in France
Gallery
In pictures: The daily life of the 2,000 migrants in Calais
Culture
Erotic promo video earns the Musée d'Orsay our "Only in France" award
International
'I love the UK, but I could die getting there': Struggles of Calais migrants
National
Seven reasons why everyone should work in a bar in France
National
The cost of expat home comforts: How France compares to Europe
International
Why don't Calais migrants stay in France? The Local went to find out
National
What are the pros and cons of working as an au pair in France?
Society
Is France's generous welfare state about to get a little stingier?
Gallery
Extraordinary images of ordinary life in the poor Paris suburbs
Gallery
10 things expats love and loathe about life in France
National
So why don't many women in France breastfeed?
National
'Stop bashing La Belle France' - French PM tells UK press
International
UK warns Brits of 'high threat' from terrorism' in France
National
VIDEO: 'The Kama Sutra is not a dirty little text'
National
What Rome could teach Paris and vice versa
Gallery
What do foreign countries warn their citizens about when visiting France?
Gallery
IN IMAGES: Eiffel Tower opens new glass floor above Paris
Society
Is it really better to grow old in the UK and the US rather than France?
Gallery
It's that time if the year again: French sportsmen reveal (almost) all
Gallery
So what do the French find really weird about Anglos?
Travel
Paris museums to open seven days a week but unions are not happy
Culture
Caption contest: What happened when Jay Z met Sark O?
International
This explains why the French never seem to get a sense of déjà vu?
National
VIDEO: Here's a view from the Eiffel Tower you haven't seen before
Travel
Do Paris's iconic rooftops deserve Unesco World Heritage status?
Opinion
'France cannot reform, the pilots' strike showed us this'
National
'We just don’t work hard enough in France.' Is that true?
International
France has moved to beef up security in various public places
National
Hiking naked in France does not come risk-free
Culture
10 French customs that confuse Anglos
National
IN PICTURES: A look inside France's 'most notorious' prison
International
Isis urges killing of 'spiteful, dirty' French
National
Paris installs new device to stop 'love lock' craze
National
Paris cabby dies in vicious high-heel attack
National
'Paris is a sexy city, its beauty is inspiring'
Culture
Depardieu: ‘I drink 14 bottles of booze a day’
National
Top French chefs want banned bird on menu
National
VIDEO: Making of French rugby hunk calendar
National
Ten great bars in Paris only locals know about
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

662
jobs available