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Viewing cable 05PARIS479, FRENCH ARREST ELEVEN IN 'JIHADISTS TO IRAQ'

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05PARIS479 2005-01-26 18:06 2010-11-30 16:04 SECRET Embassy Paris
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
S E C R E T PARIS 000479 

SIPDIS 

STATE FOR S/CT 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/25/2014 
TAGS: PTER PREL PGOV FR
SUBJECT: FRENCH ARREST ELEVEN IN 'JIHADISTS TO IRAQ' 
INVESTIGATION 

REF: PARIS 8760 AND PREVIOUS 

Classified By: POLITICAL MINISTER COUNSELOR JOSIAH ROSENBLATT, FOR REAS 
ONS 1.4 B/D 

1. (SBU) Summary: French media reported on January 26 the 
arrest two days prior of seven people suspected of 
involvement in recruiting and sending French residents to 
fight Coalition forces in Iraq. The Embassy also learned 
that an additional four suspects were arrested in the morning 
of January 26. These are the first arrests since the 
investigation of French jihadists going to Iraq was begun in 
September 2004. End summary. 

2. (S) After French officials spent most of 2004 publicly 
denying that French citizens might be going to Iraq, the 
Paris Prosecutor's office ordered the opening of an 
investigation in September 2004. Investigating judges 
Jean-Louis Bruguiere and Jean-Francois Ricard were given 
investigative authority. As reported reftel, the judges were 
initially cautioned to be circumspect in their investigations 
because of GOF fear that the investigation might harm two 
French journalists held hostage in Iraq. The hostages were 
released December 21, 2004. When last queried about the 
investigation in early January, Ricard told Poloff that the 
investigation was progressing, although authorities had no 
indication of a distinct "network" sending Islamic radicals 
to Iraq. Rather, they believed that the jihadists to Iraq 
benefited from more informal support through local mosques 
and families. 

3. (S) In a lunch hosted by the Ambassador on January 24 
(reported septel), Bruguiere revealed that several suspects 
had been arrested that morning in connection with the 
investigation. He added that in examining the case, he had 
come across reports of the involvement of minors as young as 
13-years-old. Two days later, the French press reported 
these arrests and added additional detail. According to the 
press reports, the DST (France's internal security service) 
arrested seven people on January 24, three who were planning 
to go fight in Iraq and four suspected of recruitment and 
fundraising. Two of the seven are reported to be women. The 
press reported that those arrested were affiliated with the 
Adda'wa mosque in Paris' 19th arrondisement. Four French 
citizens reported killed in Iraq had ties with mosques in the 
19th arrondisement, and three of them had frequented the 
Adda'wa mosque. An unnamed "high-level" Interior Ministry 
official quoted in the reporting said police and security 
services benefited from increased surveillance powers 
included in the recently enacted Perben II law. (Comment: 
This unnamed offical, probably a member of Interior Minister 
Villepin's Cabinet, also lauded the counter-terrorism 
policies enacted by Villepin as being instrumental in the 
arrests. That is a stretch, given that Villepin did not 
figure in the passing of Perben II or the assigning of the 
case to the counter-terrorism investigating judges. End 
comment.) 

4. (S) Ricard (strictly protect) told Poloff January 26 that, 
in addition to the seven arrested on January 24, an 
additional four were arrested on January 26. He said that 
none of those arrested was under 18, although some would 
probably be implicated in recruiting minors for jihad in 
Iraq. Of the eleven arrested, he said 3-4 were of "special 
interest" to French authorities. Depending on the results of 
the DST's interrogations, the others would either be released 
or charged with relatively minor crimes. Ricard said the 
investigation was ongoing and could involve additional 
arrests. 

5. (U) Minimize considered. 
Leach