The 21st Century Phenomenon




Nineteen people have been arrested in a series of police raids on suspected Islamists, French President Nicolas Sarkozy told French radio on Friday 03/30/2012 morning. The arrests took place in Toulouse, Marseille, Nantes, Lyon and the Ile de France region, around Paris, the Interior Ministry said.

The raids come a week after gunman Mohammed Merah, the Toulouse Shootings perpetrator, was shot dead after a long siege in the southwestern city of Toulouse.

Authorities have not said that any of those arrested were directly linked to Merah. Sarkozy told Europe 1 the decision to act had been taken by the interior minister and foreign minister “to deny the entry of certain people to France” who did not share the country’s values. “It’s not just linked to Toulouse, it’s all over the country, it’s in connection with a form of radical Islam and it’s in agreement with the law,” he said.

What you have to understand is that the traumatic events in Montauban and Toulouse were profound in our country. I don’t want to compare horrors but it’s a bit like the form of trauma visible in the United States and New York after The 9/11 . We have to be able to draw some conclusions.”

Sarkozy said a number of weapons, including Kalashnikov rifles, had been found at properties searched. “There will be other operations that will continue and that will allow us to expel from our national territory a certain number of people who have no reason to be here,” he said. Sarkozy said he was obliged to act to ensure the nation’s safety. “It’s our duty to guarantee the security of the French people. We have no choice. It’s absolutely indispensable.”

The Interior Ministry media office said “the police had plans to carry out 19 arrests and therefore 19 arrests were made in connection with the group Forsane Alizza.”

Police have been investigating whether Mohammed Merah acted alone in planning his attacks. Merah told police he had attended an Al Qaeda training camp while visiting Afghanistan and Pakistan, according to Paris prosecutor Francois Molins.

But his uncle, Jamal Azizi, denied statements by French authorities that Merah was an Al Qaeda sympathizer and that he had traveled to Afghanistan or Pakistan to train to use arms.

Merah was buried Thursday at a cemetery outside Toulouse. Algeria, where his family is originally from, had refused to accept his body, Merah’s father said, citing French authorities.

On Thursday, France barred four Islamic preachers from entering the country after banning prominent preacher Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi (see – ABYSS IN ISLAM ) and another Egyptian cleric who wanted to attend a Muslim conference in Paris.

Foreign Minister Alain Juppe and Interior Minister Claude Gueant said in a joint statement the four preachers “call for hate and violence … and, in the current context, present a strong risk of upsetting public order.”

* The terror plotter Willie Brigitte, who was released from Australian jail in 2009, was among the 19 suspects detained by the French police.

* The suspected Islamist militants arrested in France were plotting to kidnap a Jewish judge, Albert Levy, in the eastern city of Lyon (see Lyon Cell). sources close to the investigation told French media on Tuesday 04/03/2012. France also expelled two foreign-born radical Islamists on Monday.

The head of France’s Central Directorate for Domestic Intelligence (DCRI), Bernard Squarcini , said earlier that the suspects were French nationals involved in “collective war-like training, linked to a violent, religious indoctrination”. Some belonged to a banned extremist group, Forsane Alizza, and had been involved in paintball gun games, he added (see also -Virginia Network).

* 13, among 19 suspects detained in police raids, including Forsane Alizz’s leader Mohammed Achamlane, faced preliminary charges of criminal association linked to a terrorist network, a sweeping charge with a maximum 10-year prison term that is used in France to ensure a full investigation of terror suspects. Nine of the 13 are being jailed and the other four must report regularly to police

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