PARIS: French police arrested four suspected Islamist militants near Paris today as part of an investigation into the recruitment of volunteers by al Qaeda insurgents in Mali, Interior Minister Manuel Valls said.
The arrests came as France’s intervention in Mali to rid its former colony of Islamist fighters has prompted the authorities to increase security measures against possible reprisal attacks on its interests in mainland France and abroad.
Anti-terrorism judge Marc Trevidic, who is in charge of the operation, told Reuters last month that France needed more robust local policing, better intelligence sharing and the ability to infiltrate small radical Islamist groups if it hopes to fight new security threats on its soil.
He has said the insurgency that seized the north of Mali was paving the way for attacks on France as more French Muslims of African origin were finding a cause in the conflict.
Three of the four men arrested were Franco-Congolese and one was Malian, a police source said.