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FRENCH ANSAR AL-FATH NETWORK

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During 2005 the French police carried out a large number of arrests, in few waves, of Muslim residents in France, who were affiliated to Ansar al Islam – in Iraq, recruited volunteers, including would be suicide bombers, to fight the USA in Iraq, facilitated their travel to Iraq, raised money and coordinated their operation with the broader Ansar al Islam network in Europe (see – Zarqawi Recruiting Cell ).

* On 01/24/2005, following the death of a French citizen, Khalib al-Haqim, 20, the brother of Boubaker el-Hakim, in an American air strike in Falluja. Iraq, in late 2004 (see – Falluja Battle ), the French police raided Muslim populated district in Paris and arrested 10 suspects. 3 were released after initial investigation and 7, five men, among them Farid Benyettou , and two women remained in custody for further interrogation. Security officials managed to identify five French nationals who fought in Iraq, one of whom is believed to command a 20-strong insurgent unit.

* On 09/19/2005, the French police arrested in Yvelines and Eure regions outside Paris, 6 other suspects as members of Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat – GSPC, who were coordinated with Ansar al Islam. The main aim of the group was to recruit volunteers to Iraq and when they would return, after a period of time in Iraq, to use their expertise in order to form terror cells in France (see also – Khaled Abu-Basir).  The group called itself “Ansar Al-Fath” (Victorious Commandos/Partisans).

The police raid led to the arrest of Safe Bourada along with other 8 former GIA members on 09/26/2005. According to Christohe Chaboud, the French police’s counterterrorism unit commander, Safe Bourada was the key man on integrating Ansar al Islam and GSPC networks in Europe in order to establish an operational and combined terror network. The nine suspects were sentenced, on 10/23/2008, for up to 15 years in jail (see – Paris 2008 Conviction ).

* On 11/16/2005 the French authorities confirmed the arrest of 15 French citizens, connected to Ansar al Islam, that planned to come to Iraq in order to join the war there against USA. The French source admitted that 7 French citizen, most of them from Algerian descent, were already killed in Iraq fighting the USA.

 

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