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French police snare 'Jihad recruiters' in raids

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French police snare 'Jihad recruiters' in raids
French police busted a suspectd jihad recruitment cell. Photo: AFP
15:02 CEST+02:00
As parliament debates a bill that would ban French citizens travelling abroad for jihad, police arrest six people suspected of recruiting candiates for "holy war" in the Middle East

Six people have been detained in France on suspicion of recruiting candidates for jihad, a judicial source said Wednesday, as the number of French citizens travelling to Iraq and Syria increases.

The suspects, two of whom are minors, were held in the suburbs of the eastern city of Lyon as part of an "anti-terrorism" probe launched in July.

According to a police source, a brother and a sister are among those detained since Tuesday, and one of the suspects is linked to Forsane Alizza (Knights of Pride), an Islamist extremist group that had called for France to become an Islamic caliphate and was banned in 2012.

The detentions come amid concerns in France about the number of citizens travelling to Iraq and Syria to wage jihad.

According to Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, around 930 French citizens have travelled to and from the two violence-ridden countries recently, a 74-percent increase in eight months.

The country's lower house National Assembly has been debating an anti-terrorism bill, of which a key measure is a travel ban on anyone suspected of "planning to travel abroad to take part in terrorist activities, war crimes or crimes against humanity or in a theatre of operations of terrorist groups."

The measure - approved by the National Assembly on Tuesday - would see suspects have their passports and ID cards confiscated for six months for up to two years.

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