France Arrests 19 Radical Suspects

A policeman (GIPN) searches a house in Coueron, western France, on March 30, 2012 as part of down raids in several French cities. French President Nicolas Sarkozy vowed to continue a crackdown on suspected Islamists after police arrested 19 people in pre-dawn raids, seizing Kalashnikov-type assault rifles. Not all of those arrested were linked to the investigation into a killing spree by Al-Qaeda-inspired gunman Mohamed Merah and they "will continue," Sarkozy told Europe 1 radio.  Earlier sources said that police had arrested 20 suspected Islamists, mostly in Merah's hometown of Toulouse. AFP PHOTO JEAN-SEBASTIEN EVRARD (Photo credit should read JEAN-SEBASTIEN EVRARD/AFP/Getty Images) (Newscom TagID: afplivefour371024) [Photo via Newscom]

    Jean-Sebastien Evrard, AFP / Newscom

    French police on Friday arrested 19 people described as radical Islamists as part of an operation targeting suspected jihadist networks in a number of cities. President Nicolas Sarkozy said in an interview with Europe1 radio that he was mounting a crackdown after self-proclaimed al Qaeda member Mohamed Merah killed seven people in the Toulouse area before being shot dead last week. Automatic weapons were found in the homes of some of those arrested in cities including Paris, Marseille, Nice, Nantes, and Toulouse. Sarkozy, who is running a highly contested reelection campaign, said the arrests were not related to Merah.

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