France investigates 125 cases of Syrian-linked terrorism

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Redwane Hajaoui (L), a Belgian member of ISIS. File photo

French police is investigating 125 terrorist cases connected to the conflict in Syria, most of them involve people hoping to help the Islamic State armed group, officials said on Monday.

Three people were called in for questioning over the weekend on the suspicion that they helped Algerian Sid Ahmed Ghlam with his alleged plan to attack churches in the Paris region.

Some 125 cases linked to Syria are being investigated, 67 of them by examining magistrates, the justice ministry revealed on Monday.

Of the 166 people who have been taken in for questioning, 113 have been jailed awaiting trial.

Two new cases are opened every week, a source told the AFP news agency.

Justice Minister Christiane Taubira told Le Parisien newspaper that 39 cases have been opened and 35 people charged since the beginning of the year. 

The biggest network is Syrian, she said, but there were also cases relating to Iraq and Chechnya. 

Three people were detained this weekend, several French media reported, because they were suspected of being accomplices in Ghlam’s alleged plot to attack one or more church in Villejuif, near Paris. 

The DNA of two of the suspects, both already known to police, had been found at Ghlam’s home. 

Investigators are certain he was working with accomplices and had contact with someone inside Syria, to whom he sent one message saying “I don’t feel ready,’ according to M6 TV. 

Ghlam is also believed to have murdered 32-year-old Aurélie Châtelain.

A conference involving 136 anti-terror investigators from 34 countries was to open in Paris on Monday.

Agencies 

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