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Paris: Refugee believed to be senior Isis member held by French police

An Iraqi refugee in France thought to be a former senior member of the Islamic State group has been arrested in Paris and indicted on suspicion of war crimes over his alleged involvement in a massacre in his country.

Paris: Refugee believed to be senior Isis member held by French police
Photo: AFP

The 33-year-old man, referred to as Ahmed H, is accused of having participated in the June 2014 capture and execution of an estimated 1,700 young, mainly Shiite army recruits from the Speicher military camp to the north of Tikrit.

Ahmed H was arrested in March and indicted days later on a range of charges including “killings in connection with a terrorist group” and “war crimes”, and placed in pre-trial detention, the Paris prosecutor said.

The case highlights fears by Western intelligence agencies that jihadists have been able to take advantage of the migrant crisis to enter Europe.   

Having arrived in France in the summer of 2016 Ahmed H obtained refugee status a year later and was given a 10-year resident card, a source close to the investigation told AFP on Thursday.

Shortly after being granted his refugee status, Ahmed H was identified and followed by intelligence services, who then notified judicial authorities.

According to a source close to the investigation, Ahmed H has denied any involvement.

French authorities have revoked his protected status since his incarceration.

His lawyer Mohamed El Monsaf Hamdi did not want to comment immediately when contacted by AFP.

The Camp Speicher massacre was considered one of IS's worst crimes after it took over large parts of Iraq in 2014.

One of the sites of the massacre was the former river police building inside former president Saddam Hussein's palace complex in Tikrit.

Video footage subsequently released by IS showed an assembly-line massacre in which gunmen herded their victims towards the quay, shot them in the back of the head and pushed them in the water one after the other.

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ISIS

Macron says Isis defeat removes ‘significant threat’ to France

President Emmanuel Macron said Saturday that the fall of the last bastion held by Islamic State (Isis) jihadists in Syria removed a source of potential terror attacks against France by fighters based in the so-called "caliphate".

Macron says Isis defeat removes 'significant threat' to France
Photo: AFP

“A significant threat to our country” has been “eliminated”, Macron said on Twitter, while warning that “the threat remains and the fight against terrorist groups must continue.”

Kurdish-led forces pronounced the death of the Islamic State group's nearly five-year-old “caliphate” on Saturday, after flushing out diehard jihadists from their very last bastion in eastern Syria.

Fighters of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces raised their yellow flag in Baghouz, the remote riverside village where diehard jihadists of a variety of nationalities made a desperate, dramatic last stand.

The SDF's victory capped a deadly six-month operation against the final remnants of the caliphate which once stretched across a vast swathe of Iraq and Syria, and held seven million people in its sway.    

READ ALSO: French 'Isis bride' recalls Islamic state 'chaos'

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