Results tagged “France”
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President Hollande said he ordered the recent large-scale joint operation in Mali to help stabilize the country for elections in late November, and warned of the influence of Islamist terrorists evidenced by recent suicide attacks against Chadian peacekeeping troops. Bernard Squarcini, the former head of French intelligence said he was "astonished" that the prime minister claimed to be "deeply shocked" by reports that the US NSA recorded millions of French phone calls.
"The French intelligence services know full well that all countries, whether or not they are allies in the fight against terrorism, spy on each other all the time," Squarcini said.
Prime Minister Ayrault disclosed that two French journalists, Pierre Torrès and Nicolas Hénin, are being held hostage in Syria since disappearing in Aleppo on June 22. Two other French journalists, Didier Francois and Edouard Elias, disappeared on June 6 in Aleppo, a city under the control of al Qaeda forces.
Naamen Meziche, a French national of Algerian origin suspected of links to al Qaeda plots against the US and Europe, was arrested on arrival in France after being extradited from Pakistan. Meziche had been arrested in Pakistan in May 2012 with three other French jihadists, who were extradited to France in April.
Intelligence agents arrested a 21-year-old woman at her apartment in the Belleville district of Paris on suspicion of links to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. She is said to be a reader of AQAP's magazine Inspire. The arrest is the first stemming from an investigation that began in March into a suspected terrorist plot. Yesterday eight members of a militant Islamist group received sentences ranging from eight years to 18 months for recruiting French fighters for al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan and plotting terror attacks. One of the suspects, who remains at large, was sentenced in absentia.
President Hollande said France supports arming the Syrian rebels in a controlled manner so they do not end up in the hands of Islamists. A French Muslim convert was arrested in the Calvados region on terror charges for serving as administrator of the radical Islamist website Ansar al Haqq and as a translator of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's magazine Inspire. Interior Minister Valls warned that more than 130 French jihadists are now fighting in Syria, of a total of about 300 who are either currently fighting or known to be planning to go to Syria; a number of them are Muslim converts. A convert from Toulouse was killed in Syria while fighting regime forces in August.
President Hollande and the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates agreed on the need for more international support for the Syrian opposition and maintaining pressure on the Assad regime to ensure that it commits to negotiations on the Syrian crisis and does not again use chemical weapons. The Foreign Ministry called for a binding UN Security Council resolution to enforce Syria's compliance with the chemical weapons ban, and submitted a draft resolution to the UN.