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France's 'chief Isis recruiter' to go on trial

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France's 'chief Isis recruiter' to go on trial
Salim Benghalem. Photo: AFP
08:32 CET+01:00
A French national, known as an Isis executioner and the man who trains French citizens to become killers, will go on trial in Paris this week, albeit in absentia. Some suspect he was the real ringleader of the Paris terror attacks.
Salim Benghalem, an Isis 'chief executioner' will go on trial for his alleged part in running a recruitment network for the terror group. 
 
Although Benghalem won't be present given that he is believed to be in Syria, five other people, who will all be in the courtroom, will face a judge for their alleged part in the network run by Benghalem.
 
Some suspect Benghalem was the real ringleader of the Paris terror attacks and the instructor of Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who was killed by police in a raid just days after the attacks. 
 
Benghalem, who is believed to have been the target of recent French air strikes in Syria, is listed as a "foreign terrorist combatant" by the United States, and is known to French intelligence services for his "active participation in combat" in Syria, a security source told AFP in September.
   
He came to the attention of French authorities for his involvement in the Buttes-Chaumont network of would-be jihadists in Paris that included Said and Cherif Kouachi, who carried out the attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine in January.
   
Benghalem was imprisoned in 2007 for his part in gang violence, and was released in 2010, after which he is thought to have travelled to Yemen, a security source said.
 
The man grew up in Cachan, near Paris, and mysteriously fled his family to start a new life in Syria in 2013.
 
The man's wife spoke with Le Parisien on condition of anonymity, and said that her husband became "fatalistic and insensitive to death" after leaving France.
 
"Salim told me that if he returned, it would be try and cause maximum damage," she told the paper.
 
She said that her husband had told her that the damage wouldn't be made via a bombing, rather "a series of attacks". 
 
Tuesday's trial opens as France remains in a state of high alert after the terror attacks carried out by French and Belgian citizens, some of whom had travelled to Syria. 
 
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