French official: Islamists planned to kidnap judge

Published April 3, 2012 9:54AM (EDT)

PARIS (AP) — A prosecutor says that preliminary charges are being filed against 13 of 17 Islamist radicals calling for Muslim sharia law in France and planning to kidnap a judge.

Francois Molins said at a news conference on Tuesday that the Forsane Alizza group, or Knights of Pride, did physical training in parks and forests, collected weapons and preached hate and violence on their Internet site, showing clips of Osama bin Laden.

The site was shut down after authorities banned the group in March.

Molins said the investigation showed the network was organized around Forsane Alizza leader Mohammed Achamlane.

He stressed the group had no link to the killing spree last month in Toulouse that left seven dead. Suspected gunman Mohamed Merah was killed in a police standoff.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

PARIS (AP) — A French official says Islamist radicals detained last week were planning to kidnap a Jewish magistrate.

Preliminary charges are being filed against the members of the banned group, Forsane Alizza, on Tuesday for criminal association with a terrorist enterprise.

That means an investigating magistrate has strong reason to believe a crime was committed but allows more time for investigation.

The official, who is close to the investigation, spoke on condition of anonymity, citing policy.

Friday's raids netted more than a dozen people in sweeps around the country.

The head of France's counterespionage agency has said the group is not linked to the 23-year-old Frenchman who police say claimed responsibility for a killing spree in southwestern France last month.

By Salon Staff

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