Date
18 August 2017
French police patrol an area near a building where special forces searched apartments for suspected jihadists. Photo: Reuters
French police patrol an area near a building where special forces searched apartments for suspected jihadists. Photo: Reuters

France stops suspected jihadists bound for Syria

Six French nationals allegedly planning to travel to Syria to join Islamist jihadists have had their passports confiscated by authorities.

It was the first such move by the government under a new anti-terror law adopted in November.

The men were planning to join the militant group, BBC News reported Tuesday, citing Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve.

Meanwhile, France has deployed an aircraft carrier off Bahrain to be used against the extremist.

Planes from the Charles de Gaulle carrier will target Islamist positions in Iraq, Jean-Yves Le Drian, a spokesman for the defense minister, said.

The first Rafale fighter jet took off on Monday morning from the carrier about 200 kilometers off the northern coast of Bahrain.

Cazeneuve said authorities had acted against the six men after their departure to Syria appeared to be imminent.

Their passports and identity cards have been confiscated for six months, after which the order can be renewed. They have the right to appeal against the move in court.

Some of the men were reported to the authorities by relatives using a newly established telephone hotline while others were identified by police investigations.

French officials quoted by Reuters news agency estimate that about 400 French citizens are in Syria, 180 have returned to France, 200 want to go and 200 are somewhere in Europe trying to get there.

France has been on alert after 17 people were killed in attacks on the satirical Charlie Hebdo magazine and a Jewish supermarket in January.

British officials think some 600 Britons have fought in Syria, with 300 having returned.

Police can now seize passports for up to 30 days from nationals trying to leave the country, in addition to temporarily stopping citizens suspected of involvement with the militants from entering Britain.

Last week, three British schoolgirls reportedly left London to travel to Syria through Turkey.

– Contact us at [email protected]

CG/RA

EJI Weekly Newsletter

Please click here to unsubscribe