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France Arrests 10 in Terror Crackdown

French members of the French National Police Intervention Group (GIPN) arrest a suspected radical Islamist group member, on April 4, 2012, in Roubaix.
French members of the French National Police Intervention Group (GIPN) arrest a suspected radical Islamist group member, on April 4, 2012, in Roubaix.

Police in France have arrested more suspected Islamist extremists in their crackdown against militants following a string of killings last month by a man claiming ties to al-Qaida. Opposition politicians are questioning the timing of the crackdown, ahead of this month's presidential elections.

Police arrested 10 people in early-morning sweeps in several towns in northern and southern France. Investigators said they also recovered three Kalashnikov rifles and several handguns. The arrests follow similar operations last week targeting 19 suspected Islamist extremists.

A man, interviewed on BFM television, said about 40 police broke down his door to arrest his son. He called the raid shameful.

Wednesday's operation is part of a larger government crackdown against suspected radicals following last month's shooting deaths of seven people by French-Algerian Islamist Mohamed Merah. Before dying in a firefight with police, Merah claimed to have ties with al-Qaida and said he received training in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Thirteen of those arrested last week have been charged with terrorism. Several are members of a banned Islamist group called Forsane Alizza, or Knights of Pride. In addition, French authorities announced Monday they have expelled five radical Islamist preachers. The government has also barred several foreign preachers from entering the country to attend an Islamic conference.

Authorities are careful not to link the recent arrests to the Merah killings, but President Nicolas Sarkozy says France now has a zero-tolerance policy toward extremism.

In a television interview Sarkozy said the government will no longer tolerate language of hate and violence, and he vowed foreigners who make such statements will be deported immediately.

Less than three weeks before the first round of presidential elections, the crackdown has given Sarkozy a bounce (boost) in opinion polls. But his rivals are questioning the timing of the police raids, suggesting the government should have acted earlier. They also criticize the highly publicized nature of the crackdown, with some French media offering live coverage of the operations.

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by: Jonathan Huang
April 06, 2012 10:45 PM
to Unicorn and Eagle, what about your precious speech freedom and everyday human rights? ohn. People should have the right to express their anger, hater against anything, right? you just slap on your own face. To Gab, to those Muslims, west governments are repressive regimes! They dont even have the right to put on their tradition niqabs.

by: Gab to " I don't think"
April 05, 2012 5:46 AM
You have to objectively see the difference between blind indiscriminate hatred, and the very real problem we have before us, which is Islam extreme, Islamic terrorism, and political Islam. Can you name one Country where political Islam benefits anyone other than repressive regimes?

by: Roland
April 04, 2012 7:31 AM
There are about 6 million Muslims in France how many of those you think hold anti-Western anti-Liberal anti-Jewish views? Here is a tip it's not 20.You will need a lot more raids to clean that out.

by: Eagle Kiss 1
April 04, 2012 5:55 AM
I agree with Unicorn. Besides, all those who express hatred against France and her values should be expelled or at least asked to leave. There is no reason for such people to be in France. You do not enter someone's home, ask for a place to live and hate or harm the host's family at the same time.

by: Paul E. Bahre
April 04, 2012 5:27 AM
It's about time that somebody in Europe got serious about routing out the Islamic radicals. I'm sure there will be no end to these efforts.

by: Unicorn
April 04, 2012 5:01 AM
Just arresting terrorists does not appear to be an effective means of stopping them. Maybe if caught and convicted, not only them but every member of their families were deported may have some effect when they could see that their actions were effecting their immediate families as well. Then maybe members of their families would play a part in curbing their activities.

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