Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Update: Paris suburb Iraq recruitment ring dismantled

Here's an update from Agence France Presse about the ring that was recruiting in France for young men to go jihading in Iraq:

Paris suburb Iraq recruitment ring dismantled

Excerpt from report by French news agency AFP

Paris, 19 September: Six men were taken in for questioning on Monday morning (19 September) in Seine-Saint-Denis (Paris suburb) as part of an investigation into a ring recruiting Jihadists to fight in Iraq, sources close to the inquiry said.

The operation was led by the Territorial Surveillance Directorate (DST), in collaboration with the Police Prefecture's General Intelligence unit (RGPP) as part of a judicial investigation led by counter-terrorist judges Jean-Louis Bruguiere, Jean-Francois Ricard and Philippe Coirre.

The group, "believed to consist of friends" aged 20 to 25, was organized on "the same model" than the "cell of the 20th arrondissement" of Paris. This cell, dismantled in early 2005, consisted of a group of friends united around an "ideological reference", Farid Benyettou.

The two groups do not seem to be directly linked to eachother, even if it remains possible that Benyettou was in contact with some acquaintances of those detained on Monday, sources said.

According to a source close to the inquiry, Monday's arrests, which were made simultaneously in three districts of Seine-Saint-Denis, came at a time when the ring was about to send enlisted fighters. "To our knowledge, no one was sent", sources said.

(Passage omitted)

In 2004, French intelligence services identified some 20 young men who had left to fight in Iraq: six died in fighting or suicide bombings, three were made prisoners by coalition forces, and there has been no news of about ten of them.

Unlike the Afghan or Chechen examples, the "Iraq networks" appear to be "small-scale", organized within groups of people who know eachother, using mobile phones and the Internet to recruit via chat rooms, sources said. (Passage omitted)

(Passage omitted)

The intelligence services are extremely attentive - and very discreet - as to the potential return of Jihadists travelling back with orders to carry out terrorist attacks on French soil.

(FBIS Translation)

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