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PARIS: French police arrested four suspected Islamist militants near Paris yesterday as part of an investigation into the recruitment of volunteers by Al Qaeda insurgents in Mali, Interior Minister Manuel
France’s intervention in Mali to rid its former colony of Islamist fighters has prompted the authorities to increase security against possible reprisal attacks on its interests in mainland France
Anti-terrorism judge Marc Trevidic, who is in charge of the operation, told Reuters last month that France needed more robust local policing, better intelligence sharing and the ability to infiltrate small radical Islamist groups if it hopes to fight new security threats on its soil.
Analysts say the insurgency that seized the north of Mali is paving the way for attacks on France as more French Muslims of African origin were finding a cause in the conflict.
“France is really being singled out at the moment,” said Anne Giudicelli, consultant with national security specialists Terrorisc.
“It’s being accused of wanting to occupy Muslim territory and that could clearly push some individuals to take action, or encourage others to build up a network,” she told Reuters.
A police source said three of the four men arrested yesterday were Franco-Congolese and one was Malian.
Valls said the arrests had come after a long investigation into
Al Qaeda recruitment rings led by Trevidic.
“There is an operation ongoing in the Paris region, conducted by the DCRI (domestic security service), which comes after the arrest of an individual a few months ago on the border between Mali and Niger,” he told BFM TV.