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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.
Nicolas Henin, a French reporter who was held hostage by ISIS in Syria after being captured in June 2013, said that Mehdi Nemmouche, a suspect in the murder of four people at a Jewish museum in Brussels in May, was among his captors in Syria and that he was a torturer. Henin was freed along with three other captive French journalists in April. Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala, a controversial French entertainer who has been convicted of hate speech, including anti-Semitism on several occasions, is being investigated for making a video that celebrates the beheading of American reporter James Foley as "progress."
President Hollande issued a statement raising the possibility of French military action against the Islamic State. Meriam Rhaiem, 25, of eastern France, welcomed her young daughter home after authorities retrieved the child from her father, a French jihadist who had traveled to Syria to join the Al Nusrah Front last year; the father was arrested in Turkey last week.
Security forces stopped a 16-year-old French girl from traveling to Syria to join Islamist fighters and arrested a man suspected of paying for her plane ticket; he is said to a Chechen resident of France who recruits for jihadist groups. Two French teenage girls arrested earlier this month were indicted for conspiracy in a plan to carry out a suicide bombing in Lyon's historic synagogue.
French authorities arrested ISIS operative Fayez Boushran, who holds dual French and Moroccan citizenship, on his return to France, after prompting by Lebanese security officials. Boushan had confessed to arriving in Beirut in June for an ISIS bomb plot in Lebanon along with another would-be suicide bomber who was originally from the Comoros Islands.
Police arrested two French girls, aged 15 and 17, in Tarbes and Lyon who were preparing to travel to Syria for jihad; they had reportedly met through social networking. Some 900 people from France are said to have been implicated in jihad. Iraqi Christian refugees from the Islamic State's persecution in Irbil began arriving in France; Foreign Minister Fabius said their numbers might rise to "several thousand" in France.
Foreign Minister Fabius warned that the Islamic State's ambitions extend beyond the Middle East, and said France wants the UN Security Council nations as well as countries in the region to join the fight against the Islamic State. President Hollande said the world security situation was at its gravest since 2001, and called for an international conference that pools military and intelligence resources to come up with "a global strategy" to address the Islamic State's terrorism.
Eight men armed with Kalashnikovs ambushed a Saudi Embassy convoy as it headed to Bourget airport outside Paris. The attackers stole a vehicle, a suitcase filled with 250,000 euros, and allegedly "sensitive" diplomatic documents, but did not harm the members of the convoy, including an unnamed Saudi prince.
President Hollande promised that "in the coming hours" France will deliver weapons to Kurdish forces in Iraq fighting the Islamic State. Interior Minister Cazeneuve said nearly 900 French citizens have traveled to Iraq or Syria to fight, and that some of them have joined the Islamic State.
President Hollande's office said France would soon beginning delivering first aid supplies to civilian victims of the Islamic State in Iraq. A French diplomatic source yesterday said France might offer technical support to Kurdistan forces but not military assistance.
French police arrested a 37-year-old French-Moroccan jihadist at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, shortly after the man arrived from Istanbul after being expelled by Turkish authorities. The Arles native was allegedly conspiring to carry out terrorist attacks in France.
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.