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Monday, 4 February, 2002, 13:56 GMT
France arrests suspect militants
View of Strasbourg
The plot to attack Strasbourg in 2000 was foiled
French intelligence agents have arrested three suspected Islamic militants who are believed to have been part of a network that plotted a bomb attack on Strasbourg cathedral.

The arrests were made in and around Paris on the orders of two anti-terrorism judges investigating cells linked to a plan to attack the cathedral in 2000.

The plan was foiled when German police uncovered video footage during a raid on a residential building.

Judges Jean-Louis Bruguiere and Jean-Francois Ricard have been investigating leads thrown out by that raid, which is reported to have broken up a militant cell. Militant connections

Monday's arrests were "a follow-up to the investigation rather than the discovery of a new incident," an official told the AFP news agency.

The French TV station, LCI, reported the three suspects had visited terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and Chechnya and had ties to militant networks in the United Kingdom and Belgium.

It also said that one of the men arrested on Monday was also linked to the assassination of the Afghan opposition leader, Ahmed Shah Massood, in September last year.

Massood was killed just days before the 11 September attacks in the United States.

The three men, who are all of Algerian descent, can be held for four days before either being freed or put under investigation.

See also:

11 Dec 01 | Europe
Looking for European al-Qaeda
21 Sep 01 | Europe
Islamic 'plotters' held in France
18 Sep 01 | Americas
France backs US on terrorism
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