French police detain 20 terror suspects in dawn raid

Monday, December 12, 2005


French police said on Monday they have smashed an Islamist terrorism ring in Paris. Between 20 and 30 people were arrested in the Paris region following an investigation into the funding of Islamist extremists. Police described Monday's events as a "major operation aimed at disbanding an Islamist network linked to terrorism".

Among those arrested in a string of dawn raids were individuals linked to previous terrorism investigations and common crime, the police statement said. Those detained remained in custody and police were searching a number of premises and Internet cafes. The suspects were under surveillance for several weeks and were detained after evidence emerged that "violent actions" were being planned.

Those arrested are suspected of staging armed robberies to finance radical Islamist causes. French investigators were reportedly "convinced" those arrested intended to stage violent acts on French territory, a French radio station reported.

Some 20 suspects were arrested before dawn in five different regions. Others were arrested several hours later around suburban Paris. The raids were carried out by the domestic intelligence service, DST, detectives from France's organised crime unit and members of the RAID crack intervention squad.

France has been on red alert, the second highest security level, since the suicide bomb attacks on London transport on July 7.