PARIS — French police have detained five people suspected of a role in a network that allegedly sends French citizens to the tribal zone bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan to train for war, a security official and the Paris prosecutor's office said Tuesday.
Two of the five were detained Tuesday morning at Charles de Gaulle airport, north of Paris, on their return to France, the prosecutor's office said. The other three were picked up in the capital on Monday afternoon.Story: Wanted Yemeni preacher calls for jihad against U.S.
The five — four men and a woman ranging in age from 25 to 30 — were detained at the request of several special anti-terrorist judges, the prosecutor's office said.
A security official said the suspects were questioned as part of a probe of a network of French fighters sent to the lawless tribal zones of western Pakistan where the Taliban militia flourish.
One of them was also being questioned about an alleged criminal plot to target the rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris, the prominent moderate Dalil Boubakeur, the official said.The mosque said in September that armed guards had been assigned to Boubakeur because of an unspecified threat against him.
The suspects are being questioned by police and intelligence agency officers, said the official, close to the investigation. He spoke on condition of anonymity since he is not authorized to publicly discuss ongoing investigations.
Since September, France has been especially vigilant on terrorism-linked matters following warnings — including one in a recent audio message from Osama bin Laden — that French citizens were targets for al-Qaida. Citizens who leave home to train in terrorist techniques are of particular concern for France and other European countries.
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