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Defense Minister LeDrian said France is willing to coordinate a regional task force in Africa to confront Boko Haram; the 2,800-strong force was pledged by regional powers in July but has not yet materialized. He urged greater cooperation among African nations on security matters. He also noted that jihadists driven from Mali have regrouped in southern Libya and threaten the stability of the region. The UN's special envoy to the Sahel region warned that "the Boko Haram problem is no longer limited to Nigeria" and also that the Islamic State appears to be running training camps in Libya.




During raids in Toulouse, Paris, Bordeaux, and Normandy, antiterrorism police arrested at least 10 suspected members of a jihadist recruiting network, as part of an investigation begun in late 2013. Among those arrested were two prison inmates and a woman. The number of French jihadists traveling to Syria has risen at least 80 percent this year.




The Foreign Ministry said several people were killed in Kabul, Afghanistan by a suicide bombing at a French school in the city. The French military announced that Ahmed el Tilemsi, a top commander in the al Qaeda-linked al Mourabitoun, was killed by French forces in Mali. A French media report claimed that Toulouse shooter Mohamed Merah and two accomplices robbed a jewelry store in Toulouse during the week in which he conducted three attacks.




Serge Lazarevic, a Frenchman held hostage by al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb since 2011, arrived back in France. Lazarevic was reportedly freed in exchange for the release of AQIM members Heiba Ag Acherif and Mohammed Ali Ag Wadossene; the French government did not disclose whether a ransom was paid. President Hollande thanked the presidents of Mali and Niger for their help in freeing Lazarevic, and said no more French hostages are being held anywhere. The mother of a teenage French boy who is now allegedly fighting for the Al Nusrah Front in Syria has sued the French government for failing to stop him from traveling to Syria last year.




Nabil Ouerfelli and Yasmine Znaidi, two leaders of the Paris and Gaza-based Islamic charity Pearl of Hope, have been charged with financing terrorism, and the charity has been shut down. Ouerfelli, who also fought in Syria, has links to militant groups there, including the Al Nusrah Front and the Islamic Front. A suspected Boko Haram attack on a French cement factory in Nigeria was repelled by Nigerian forces. A French anti-Semitism association reported that there have been nearly 900 incidents of threats and violence against Jews in France so far this year, more than double last year's total.




A French special forces soldier was killed and two other soldiers were wounded in a helicopter crash during a training mission in Burkina Faso. The National Assembly voted to urge the recognition of Palestine as a state.




French jihadist Mickael Dos Santos and his mother denied that he was featured in a recent Islamic State video as an executioner. The mayor of the small town of Labastide-Rouairoux in southern France identified French jihadist Abou Ossama Al-Faranci as appearing in the video, and noted that he had left Toulouse for Syria about a year ago.




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.




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.


 
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