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France Launches Criminal Probe of Islamic Group Sending Fighters to Iraq

French authorities have begun criminal probes of three Islamic militants in the investigation of a network believed to have recruited and funneled fighters for the insurgency in Iraq.

Judicial officials say the three have been placed under investigation, one step short of being formally charged. The three were among about 11 people arrested this week in connection with an investigation of the group, which officials say also planned attacks on French targets. Authorities released the others detained in the case.

Authorities began an investigation to determine if extremists are running a network in France recruiting Islamic militants to fight U.S. forces in Iraq after the deaths of a number of French Muslims there.

Meanwhile, a German magazine says a suspected al-Qaida member arrested in Mainz last Sunday told authorities Osama bin Laden personally sent him to Germany to recruit Islamic fighters.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.