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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 October 2006, 16:26 GMT 17:26 UK
France jails Reunion bomb plotter
Map showing Reunion
A French court has sentenced a Moroccan man to nine years in prison for his role in a terror plot to bomb the Indian Ocean island of Reunion in 2003.

The court also ordered that Karim Mehdi, 37, be deported at the end of his sentence and barred from ever setting foot on French territory again.

It is believed that Mehdi also knew two of the men involved in the 11 September 2001 attacks on the United States.

Mehdi claims he did see them once, but denied any knowledge of their plans.

Mehdi was arrested in June 2003 at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris as he travelled to the French island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean, where, prosecutors said, he was planning to stage an attack.

"Equipment was bought, Mehdi had drawn up an operational plan and potential targets were discussed," the court heard.

He had also visited Mauritania, Pakistan, Bosnia and Afghanistan.

9/11 link claim

Mehdi is the first and only person to face charges arising out of the French judicial review into the 11 September 2001 attacks.

His address book contained contact details for Ziad Samir Jarrah, who is believed to have taken control of the United Airlines flight that crashed in Pennsylvania and alleged 9/11 plotter, Ramzi Binalshibh.

However, there was no direct evidence linking Mr Mehdi to the 9/11 attacks - he told the court that he had met the men once in the company of friends, but claims that he knew nothing about their plans.

The French island of Reunion is about 500 miles (800km) east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean.

Regions and territories: Reunion
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