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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.
A video surfaced that shows a Frenchman claiming to have been recently kidnapped by Jund al Khilafah, an Islamic State-linked group in Algeria, and asking France not to intervene in Iraq. Interior Minister Cazeneuve said "France is not afraid," in response to the IS' latest threats against France and the West. France asked the UN to add four people to its list of global terrorists.
The French military carried out its first airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq, attacking a logistics depot in the northeast. President Hollande said precautions had been taken to ensure there were no civilian casualties, and more strikes will be carried out in the coming days. Some jihadists on Twitter called for retaliation against France.
President Hollande said France would provide air supportfor Iraqi army efforts against the Islamic State in Iraq, but would not participate in strikes on the IS in Syria and in any case would not be providing ground troops for the effort against the group. He indicated that French airstrikes against IS targets in Iraq would begin shortly. The Foreign Ministry decided to start referring to the IS as "Daesh."
Security forces arrested five or six people in Lyon who are suspected of recruiting fighters for extremist groups in Syria and Iraq. Two of the suspects are minors, and one of the suspects is female and the sister of another suspect. The suspects allegedly focused on recruiting females for jihad. Another suspect is connected to the banned group Forsane Alizza, or Knights of Pride, which seeks to establish an Islamic caliphate in France. Interior Minister Cazeneuve said that 930 French citizens and foreign nationals in France are involved in Islamic extremism; among those, hundreds have joined the Islamic State in Syria and others are in France.
Foreign Minister Fabius said France wants to participate in the airstrikes against the Islamic State in Syria. Yesterday France had expressed willingness to "participate, if necessary, in military air action" in Iraq. Mourad Fares a.k.a. Abu Hassan al Faransi, a prominent jihadist recruiter linked to first the Islamic State and then the Al Nusrah Front, was arrested in France after being turned over by Turkey, where he was arrested on Aug. 16. He reportedly had been working from two bases along the Turkish-Syrian border.