French intelligence conducted a special operation in radical Islamists circles in the outskirts of Lion on January 6.
The operation was one of the measures investigating so called “Chechen traces”, sources report. Intelligence officers arrested at least seven people in the suburbs of Paris.
They are suspected in terrorist activity. According to France-Info radio station, earlier there was information about five arrested people – natives of the North of Africa.
The sources in the law enforcement authorities said that the arrests were made in the framework of investigating the activity of the organization called Chechen Cell. This criminal case is under the responsibility of court investigator Jean-Lou Bryugier who is considered to be the leading specialist on fighting terrorism in France.
According to France-Info, imam Shelali bin Shelali, his wife and one of his sons were arrested. They suspect of being involved in the activity of the Islamic terrorist group.
This operation took place in Venicio – Lion’s suburb neighborhood. In November 2002 radical fundamentalists’ network involved in the explosion of the synagogue in Tunisian Dzherba island was detected in this neighborhood and destroyed. 19 people were killed because of this act of terrorism, most of them were German tourists, ITAR-TASS information agency reports.
One of the sons of imam Murad bin Shelali was captured in Afganistan after defeating Taliban and is currently detained in American military base in Guantanamo. Another imam’s son was arrested at the end of 2002 in Paris suburb Romenvill on accusation of being involved in “Chechen Cell”. According to the investigation, the members of this organization who were arrested in Romenvill and Courneve (suburbs of Paris) were plotting the act of terrorism to one of Russian embassies with the use of explosives. The intelligence found in the detained people’s homes components for producing home-made bombs and poisoning substances, instructions and literature which points at their possible connection with Al-Quaeda.
According to the investigation information, this organization was called “Chechen Cell” because its members had training in the militants camps in Chechnya and Georgia. The investigation of “Chechen trace” started in Paris on November 13, 2002. At that time two series of arrests took place in the suburbs of Paris. French investigators were able to detect a group of Islamic activists who had training on conducting acts of terrorism in the camps in Chechnya and Pankissi Canyon in Georgia in 2001 and 2002.
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