France has announced that it has arrested 10 people believed to have been heavily involved in a major Jihadist network within the country.
Raids carried out by French authorities have successfully dismantled several jihadist operations and led to the arrest of 10 individuals heavily involved in a recruitment and transportation network for would-be jihadists, aiming to reach Syria.
The arrests occurred amid strong fears in Western Europe that jihadist groups in Syria and Iraq, especially the Islamic State, have grown increasingly effective at attracting foreign-born fighters to join their ranks.
Agnès Thibault-Lecuivre, a spokeswoman for the Paris prosecutor’s office, declined to provide details about the arrests but said they were made on charges of “conspiracy to prepare acts of terrorism.”
In a statement congratulating police and intelligence services for the operation, Bernard Cazeneuve, the French interior minister, called the disrupting of jihadist networks an “absolute priority” for police and judicial authorities. He said that over 100 judicial proceedings involving nearly 500 people were currently underway.
Last month, the Paris prosecutor said that over 1,100 French citizens had been linked to fighting in Syria or Iraq, including those planning to leave, those in transit, those currently on the ground with jihadist groups, or those who had already returned to France.
“There has been a considerable increase of the number of those who leave, 82 percent since the beginning of 2014,” Mr. Cazeneuve said.
Ms. Thibault-Lecuivre said the raids on Monday were conducted in several regions across France but were focused on a network based around the southwestern city of Toulouse. She said that the investigation that led to the arrests was opened in December 2013 by judges in Paris.