French police arrest six in 'anti-jihadist' raid

French nationals suspected of participating in opposition fighters network had recently travelled to Syria, says interior minister.

French police arrest six in 'anti-jihadist' raid

French police have arrested six suspected members of a fighters network believed to have recently returned from Syria, according to the country’s Interior Ministry.

Officers arrested the six French nationals during a raid in Strasbourg on Tuesday morning.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the six young men were suspected of participating in a fighters network, and had recently travelled to Syria.

In April, the French government launched an 'anti-jihadist' initiative to stop young French nationals from leaving for the war-torn country.

The 'anti-radicalization' plan included more than 20 measures aimed both at preventing French citizens from joining the war in Syria and countering the indoctrination of young French Muslims at the earliest stages.

This involved the creation of a counseling center, a dedicated website and a telephone hotline for parents or family members who are seeking professional advice about how to handle children they believe are becoming radicalized.

Soon after launching the plan, the French authorities deported a French-Algerian national "suspected of recruiting young French Muslims to join the Syrian civil war."

Cazeneuve claimed last month that more than 700 French nationals and residents are now believed to be fighting in different parts of the Middle East and North Africa, including at least 500 in Syria alone.

U.S. intelligence reports say that the number of foreign fighters in Syria rose from 1,000 at the beginning of the conflict to 8,000 currently, with many fighting for different rebel factions.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 13 Mayıs 2014, 15:47