Extremists arrested in France 'planned to target Jews'

By Jennifer Lipman, April 3, 2012

French police may have thwarted a plot to kidnap a Jewish magistrate last week.

According to AFP, the raid on 16 suspected Islamists last week has led investigators to plans to target members of the country's Jewish community.

A source told the agency: "It looks like some of them planned to carry out kidnappings, including that of a magistrate who has a Jewish-sounding name," as well as a Jewish magistrate in Lyon.

Three of those who were arrested last week have been released, but it is expected that the remainder will be charged later today.

Some of the 16 were said to be members of Forsane Alizza, a radical group created two years ago known for propaganda stunts and anti-Zionist protests.

Bernard Squarcini, the head of France's domestic intelligence agency, said the suspects were engaged in "war-like training" and "linked to violent religious indoctrination".

The crackdown last Friday came in the aftermath of the murders of seven people by self-confessed Islamist Mohammed Merah. The gunman, who expressed pride in the murders of three Jewish children in Toulouse, was buried outside the city last week.

Last updated: 10:33am, April 3 2012