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A French media report based on leaked documents indicated that suspect Ali M., an Algerian butcher in Vaucluse, corresponded for a year with a senior member of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb over a plot to bomb the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and a nuclear power plant; he was arrested in June before he was to travel to Algeria for terrorist training. French authorities stepped up security on US-bound flights "for the summer period" and plan to unveil stronger antiterrorism legislation soon.




Abderazak Cherif, a Frenchman of Tunisian origin from Nice, told news media that his 17-year-old son left the Al Nusrah Front in Syria and crossed the Turkish border to rejoin his father; Cherif's older son is still in Syria fighting with rebels. The 17-year-old was arrested on his return for belonging to a terrorist group and allegedly murdering a man while in Syria.




A French court ordered that Mehdi Nemmouche, a French-Algerian man accused of killing four people in an attack at a Jewish museum in Brussels, be extradited to Belgium. Nemmouche, a jihadist who spent a year fighting in Syria before the attack, is seeking to have the extradition order quashed. Authorities are investigating the disappearance of a Parisian schoolgirl who reportedly had been encouraged to travel to Syria by a female jihadist online. The number of French citizens going to Syria to fight has increased 75% in the past six months.




French authorities have deported Ahmed B., a Tunisian Salafist who had lived in France for several years, following his arrest earlier this month in Grenoble on suspicion of recruiting jihadists who were trained in Tunisia and then sent to Syria to fight. The first deportation of a jihadist recruiter under new French legislation was that of an Algerian, Sala Bouhabila, on May 1. Foreign Minister Valls recently estimated that over 800 French nationals have gone to Syria to fight.




The Foreign Ministry announced the arrest today of four people in Paris and southern France who are part of a jihadist recruiting network that sends fighters to Syria. On May 30, French authorities in Marseille arrested Mehdi Nemmouche, a suspect in the killing of three people at a Jewish museum in Brussels on May 24, who allegedly trained in Syria with terrorist groups. Authorities did not indicate whether today's arrests are related to the arrest of Nemmouche.




Foreign Minister Le Drian announced that France will deploy 3,000 soldiers to the Sahel, while maintaining 1,000 in Mali, to combat Islamist militants. The additional troops will be based in Niamey, Niger's capital, where French drones are based; in Burkina Faso; and in Chad; the logistics hub will be in Ivory Coast. He said the Sahel was key to both African and French security and vowed that France would stay with the mission "as long as it takes." Le Drian also announced the death of another French soldier in Mali, who was killed by an IED. Since the launch of an "anti-jihad" hotline and website on April 29, authorities have received 24 "relevant" reports ; five involved individuals who already left France to fight in Syria.




The Defense Ministry denied a report that the government paid a ransom of $18 million for the release of four French journalists who were were kidnapped in Syria by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham, an al Qaeda offshoot, in June 2013. According to the report, Defense Minister LeDrian took the ransom money to Ankara, where Turkish secret services helped transfer it to the kidnappers.




Interior Minister Cazeneuve will submit an antiradicalization plan to address the threat of jihadism at home and abroad; some 700 French citizens or nationals are thought to have fought in Syria. President Hollande was urged to allow more Syrian refugees into France.




A French court questioned and released Souad Merah, the sister of al Qaeda-linked Toulouse shooter Mohamed Merah, who killed seven people in 2012. She had spoken approvingly of Merah's actions and of Osama bin Laden. So far three people have been charged in the investigation, including Merah's brother Abdelkader; 30 people have been detained and released.




Counterterrorism authorities announced the prevention of an imminent terrorist attack in the Cote d'Azur region and the arrest of a jihadist who had returned from Syria. The suspect, Ibrahim B., had fled in 2012 along with two other members of the terrorist group Cannes-Torcy to Syria, where they allegedly joined the Al Nusrah Front. A raid on his apartment in Mandelieu-La-Napoule, near Cannes resulted in the seizure of 900 grams of the explosive TATP, along as well as a gun and a computer. Al Qaeda has reissued a call for attacks in France.




French intelligence is questioning seven men and a woman who are suspected of planning to travel to Syria to fight for terrorist groups. The eight suspects were arrested yesterday in and around Paris. An al Qaeda-linked media outlet issued a call on March 7 encouraging "our lone wolves in France" to assassinate President Hollande and attack French government targets in retaliation for France's role in Mali and the Central African Republic.




Three young men who aspired to be Syrian jihadists were handed prison terms ranging from two to five years, in the first prosecution of its kind in France. Youssef Ettaoujar, Salah-Eddine Gourmat, and Fares Farsi were arrested in May 2012 while trying to board a flight to Turkey. Last week a 14-year-old girl was stopped from flying to Turkey.




Romain L., a.k.a. Abu Siyad Al-Normandy, a 26-year-old Muslim convert from Calvados, appeared in court on charges of incitement to terrorism for administering the jihadist website Ansar al Haqq and translating al Qaeda's magazine Inspire into French. He is the first person to be prosecuted under a law that was enacted in late 2012. In recent years, al Qaeda has increasingly called for cyber-jihad.




Police in Dijon detained an Egyptian who was traveling on the Paris-Venice night train with a bottle of suspected explosives. The man, a resident of Italy, reportedly said he was unaware of the nature of the products he was carrying.




A French court is investigating two teenage boys from Toulouse suspected of trying to travel to Syria to join a terrorist group. The father of one of the boys said his son was radicalized over the Internet. Authorities are looking for a teenage girl missing from Avignon who may have gone to Syria. Interior Minister Manuel Valls said judges could prosecute persons who have traveled to join groups such as the Al Nusrah Front.




Defense Minister Le Drian said France plans to expand its military presence in Africa, with the permanent deployment of 3,000 troops to bases in Niger, Mali and Chad, and to a logistics base in Ivory Coast and a special forces base in Burkina Faso. He said the work of cracking down on extremists in Libya will be a "long-term" project.




The Toulouse prosecutor said two 15-year-old French boys have left France for jihad in Syria. President Hollande said some 700 French nationals and residents have traveled to Syria for jihad, and Interior Minister Valls said 20 of them have died there.




President Hollande said the French contingent of 650 troops in Central African Republic will be doubled within days, but that the intervention would differ from the Malian one, as in CAR, France will serve as a "gendarme." Foreign Minister Fabius said the CAR operation was to help stem mounting sectarian violence, and Defense Minister Le Drian said it could wind down in six months.




To support an African peacekeeping force, France will triple the amount of soldiers it has in CAR to over 1,000 for six months. France's ambassador to the UN predicted that the intervention will probably be easier than the one in Mali. France also has a military presence in Mali, Côte d'Ivoire, Chad, and Gabon.




A former member of France's DGSE spy agency dismissed the claim made by a British anti-racism group in a recent report that French intelligence considered killing hate preacher Abu Hamza in England in the late 1990s. Foreign Minister Fabius said France may begin lifting Iran sanctions in December. France may increase increase its troop presence in the Central African Republic.


 
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