Friday, January 28, 2005

Yahoo! News - France Worried About Terrorism at Home

Yahoo! News - France Worried About Terrorism at Home

By JAMEY KEATEN, Associated Press Writer

France Worried About Terrorism at Home

PARIS - The ongoing violence in Iraq (news - web sites) "encourages terrorism," has created instability and has pushed some French youths toward holy war, France's defense minister said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie appeared eager to rebuild frayed French-U.S. ties, but expressed deep concern about the insurgency ahead of Sunday's election in Iraq.

She pointed to arrests this week of 11 French youths as part of an investigation into a network suspected of dispatching Islamic combatants from France to Iraq. One of the youths was later released.

"France cannot be satisfied with the situation in Iraq," she said in Thursday's interview. "What's happening in Iraq is bad for everyone. It encourages terrorism and creates a zone of instability that can spread."

Alliot-Marie expressed concern that the young French fighters "could one day carry out suicide attacks elsewhere ... that worries us." France itself could be targeted, she said.

France's DGSE spy agency, which works for the Defense Ministry, was active in helping counterintelligence agents ahead of the arrests, providing information on "routes of passage" to Iraq, the minister said.


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