Results tagged “France”
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The Defense Ministry said two French fighter jets along with other coalition aircraft struck Islamic State trenches around the Iraqi city of Kirkuk, creating a breach in the terror group's frontlines. Foreign Minister Le Drian said France will send six Rafaele fighter jets to be based in Jordan, bolstering the French air forces that already include nine fighter jets based in the United Arab Emirates. A Paris prosecutor identified Muslim convert Mickael Dos Santos in addition to Maxime Hauchard as participants in an Islamic State execution video; the two French nationals are being investigated for crimes including murder and membership in a terrorist group. Prime Minister Valls said 50 French nationals have died in Syria. Officials estimate that over 1,132 French nationals have joined terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq, and that 376 are actively fighting there. Of those 376 combatants, 23 percent are said to be Muslim converts.
One of the jihadists shown in the Islamic State's video on the beheading of US citizen Peter Kassig is reported to be French citizen Maxime Hauchard a.k.a. Abou Abdallah Al-Faransi, a Muslim convert who traveled to Syria in 2013. Another Frenchman also appeared in the video. Interior Minister Cazeneuve said authorities are investigating Hauchard, among others; about 1,100 people are under surveillance by French authorities for suspected jihadist activity.
Following his extradition from Canada yesterday, Hassan Diab, 60, a Canadian citizen and university professor, was charged with first-degree murder and other crimes for the 1980 bombing of a Paris synagogue that killed four people and injured many more. Diab, who was arrested in Canada in 2008, was accused of membership in the extremist group Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
A court sentenced French citizen Flavien Moreau, 27, a Muslim convert with a prior criminal record, to seven years in prison for joining Islamist militants in Syria. Interior Minister Cazeneuve has said that authorities have been monitoring about 350 possible jihadists, including some 80 minors and 150 women, and have prevented at least 70 people from traveling to the Middle East for jihad. Yesterday four French nationals, including two with Polish and Rwandan origins, were arrested in Morocco for links to terrorist groups; one of the suspects had also traveled to Egypt and Yemen.
The state-owned utility EDF said complaints have been filed against the unnamed persons who have flown drones over seven of France's nuclear plants between Oct. 5 and Oct. 20. Interior Minister Cazeneuve said an investigation has been launched and measures are being taken to neutralize the drones. Foreign Minister Le Drian said a French paratrooper was killed in a clash in Mali between French forces and al Qaeda-linked militants.
Officials are looking into the disappearance from their homes in Nice of a family of 11, including a grandmother; the family is said to have gone to Syria for jihad. Over 1,000 French nationals or residents are thought to have traveled to Syria or Iraq to join extremist groups, and at least 350 are believed to be still there; one of them is teenager Nora Fouad, from Avignon. President Hollande said he supports Turkey's proposal for the creation of a buffer zone between Turkey and Syria.
The Defense Ministry rejected a media report that among those targeted in coalition airstrikes against the Al Nusrah Front in Syria last month was a French intelligence operative who had defected to al Qaeda; he is said to have survived the strikes and to be leading fighters in Irbil. The Foreign Ministry refused to comment. A 15-year-old French girl is in police custody after stealing her parents' credit card and leaving home in an attempt to travel to Syria for jihad.
Interior Minister Cazeneuve said there are about 1,000 French jihadists who have traveled to Syria and Iraq or plan to go this year, an increase of 74 percent. The Interior Ministry also recently said that 180 of the 930 French nationals who have traveled to Syria or Iraq for jihad have left. Authorities are reportedly monitoring Salim Benghalem, a French national suspected of serving as an Islamic State executioner in Syria; he was recently added to the US' list of global terrorists.
Authorities have begun formally investigating three French jihadists recently returned from Syria who are suspected of preparing terrorist attacks; two of them have links to Toulouse shooter Mohamed Merah. The three suspects, who were already subject to investigation since September 2013 for ties to the "Artigat" network of jihadists in southern France, were arrested in Turkey. On Sept. 25, President Hollande said security will be stepped up in public places, and that France will increase its assistance to Syrian rebels who are fighting jihadists and is also ready to help other countries combat terrorism.