France busts fighter-smuggling ring

France has detained five Muslim activists suspected of recruiting volunteers to fight the US army in Iraq.

    Police made the arrests as part of an anti-terrorist investigation

    Officials said four suspects were arrested on Sunday in the Paris area while a fifth was detained on Monday in the southern port of Marseille.

    One of the five suspects, Moroccan national Said al-Maghrabi, had been sought for months by several police forces across Europe.

    Al-Maghrabi was placed on Thursday under judicial investigation, a first step towards possible formal charges, for criminal association as part of a plot.

    The five were arrested as part of an anti-terrorist investigation launched last September after evidence emerged of a so-called Iraqi network recruiting volunteers to fight US forces.

    Moroccan suspect

    The Moroccan allegedly spent time in Afghan training camps run by Usama bin Ladin's al-Qaida network. Upon his return, he tried in vain to go to Chechnya where separatist rebels are battling Russian forces.

    "He has an active past," a source said.

    Al-Maghrabi was preparing to leave for Iraq, via Syrian capital Damascus, when he was apprehended on Sunday.

    In January, 11 suspected Islamists were taken into custody including 23-year-old Farid Binyattu, who along with two others has been placed under investigation for "criminal association related to a terrorist enterprise".

    French police believe Binyattou was the mastermind behind the recruitment operation, which allegedly sent young men to wage war against US-led forces in Iraq.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    In 1959, a year before Nigeria's independence, a 23-year-old student helped colour the country's identity.