French arrests expose multinational components of suspected terrorist network

Soldiers patrol on October 4, 2010 at Gare du Nord railway station in Paris.

From Reuters:  Anti-terrorist police arrested 11 people in several parts of France early on Tuesday in swoops on suspected Islamic extremists, police sources said.

In one operation focused on a network supplying false papers for jihadists returning from Afghanistan, police arrested two men in the Mediterranean port of Marseille and a third in the city of Bordeaux in the southwest, the sources said.

The three were linked to a man arrested in the Italian city of Naples and suspected of links to al Qaeda militants, they said.

In a separate operation, eight people were arrested on suspicion of involvement in arms and explosives trafficking, the sources said. Those arrests took place in the region around Marseille.

In early September, Italian anti-terrorist police arrested a Frenchman suspected of belonging to al Qaeda and capable of securing explosives, Italian sources said on Sunday.

From Richard Wiliams, Sky News: In the second raid, three of the suspects’ phone numbers were found in the phone of Ryad Hannouni.

He had been picked up on Saturday close to the central train station in the Italian city of Naples, allegedly carrying a bomb-making kit.

The 28-year-old Algerian is suspected of being the head of the terror cell and a European arrest warrant has been issued for his extradition to France.

From DPA: Hannouni reportedly just returned to Europe from a terrorist training camp in the border area between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The names and phone numbers of the three suspects were found on Hannouni’s cellphone.

From CBS News:  U.S. officials believe a cell of Germans and Britons are at the heart of a terror plot against European cities – a plan they link to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden – and are believed to be hiding in that region.

It’s not clear how many terrorists may be involved or where they are. While security officials call the threats "credible," there is still no hard information about timing or targets.

"We’re in the middle sequence of this plot, but we know it’s underway," said CBS News national security analyst Juan Zarate. "We know it’s been directed by al Qaeda, but we don’t know when it may be executed, and we don’t know who is going to perpetrate it."  (photo: Getty)

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