Ten arrested in Islamist crackdown

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French police arrested a further ten people in a second spate of raids against suspected Islamic militants yesterday.

The arrests are part of a high-profile crackdown on radicals in the wake of attacks on soldiers and a Jewish school. They were carried out as part of a preliminary investigation opened on Monday into terror-linked activity in France, an official said.

A source close to the investigation said the ten were suspected of links to Islamist websites and of threatening violence in online forums. Some of them may have been trying to attend jihadist training camps along the Afghan-Pakistan border, he added.

The raids in five cities, mostly in southern France, were the second in several days and appeared to be part of a new focus on rooting out radical Islamists in France.

President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is facing a tough election, has promised to hunt down radicals and hold them to account or kick them out of the country. But he has come under criticism for using the raids and expulsions to further his campaign and for not doing enough to prevent the killing spree last month in and around Toulouse that left seven dead.

On Tuesday, charges were filed against 13 people who were detained during raids last week, all members of a banned group, Forsane Alizza, or Knights of Pride. Nine of them were jailed. The four others were released.