April 4 - France police arrest 10 suspected Islamist militants, as part of a clampdown by French President Nicolas Sarkozy ahead of an April 22 election. Simon Hanna reports.
French police arrest 10 suspected Islamic militants in a series of dawn raids across the country. The operation follows Friday's arrest of 19 suspects, and comes almost two weeks after police snipers shot dead 23-year-old gunman Mohamed Merah. Merah had killed seven people in the Toulouse region, including three Jewish school children. That spate of killings prompted French President Nicolas Sarkozy to order a security clampdown. The raids, carried out by France's domestic intelligence service and special elite forces, took place in various locations including Marseille, Valence and Roubaix. A local police source said those arrested had a similar profile to Merah. Police tracked the suspects on Islamist forums expressing militant views and said they were preparing to travel to areas including Pakistan and Afghanistan to wage jihad. Wednesday's raids though were not directly linked to the Merah attacks. Sarkozy - who faces an uphill task to win re-election in the upcoming April 22nd election - has vowed to root out militancy in the wake of the Toulouse killing spree. Simon Hanna, Reuters.