Suspected Islamist radicals arrested in French raid

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Suspected Islamist radicals arrested in French raid

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Police in France arrested around 20 suspected radical Islamists in early morning raids on Friday in several cities, including Toulouse.

France’s elite RAID commando unit carried out the operation, which also took place in Nantes, Lyon, Le Mans and Paris. The swoop came less than two weeks after Al Qaeda-inspired gunman Mohamed Merah killed seven people including three children.

Police said the raids were not directly part of the probe into the Toulouse killings although several of those held were believed to be close to a radical Islamist group that was recently outlawed.

A police source confirmed several weapons including at least one Kalashnikov and a bullet-proofed vest were seized.

Since the attacks, Merah’s brother Abdelkader has been placed under official investigation on suspicion of complicity.

Merah was buried in Toulouse on Thursday following his death in a shoot-out with police after a 32-hour siege, during which he admitted the killings of three soldiers, a rabbi and three children.