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Last Updated: Friday, 29 July 2005, 00:52 GMT 01:52 UK
Seven French 'died for al-Qaeda'
Insurgents in Falluja
Iraqi insurgents have been joined by fighters from abroad
At least seven people from France have been killed in Iraq and elsewhere fighting for al-Qaeda, the French interior minister has told a newspaper.

"At least seven people from France have died... fighting for al-Qaeda's cause, some in suicide attacks," Nicolas Sarkozy told Le Parisien.

Another 10 are in Iraq, Pakistan, Syria and Afghanistan, he said.

Nicolas Sarkozy also said the surveillance of flights to those countries would be reinforced.

These, he said, are considered stopovers for Europeans heading to Iraq to join militant groups.

In early June, French police detained two men believed to have recruited volunteer fighters to be deployed in Iraq.

One of them, 39-year-old Said al-Maghrebi, had reportedly trained with al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and had been sought by French police for months.

Another alleged recruiter of jihadists, Farid Benyettou, was arrested in France in January.

US authorities believe that a large number of attacks in Iraq are carried out by foreign fighters, some of them recruited in western countries.

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