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French detain 5 suspects in terror network probe

PARIS – French police have detained five people suspected of a role in a network that allegedly sends French citizens to the tribal zone bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan to train for war, a security official and the Paris prosecutor's office said Tuesday.

Two of the five were detained Tuesday morning at Charles de Gaulle airport, north of Paris, on their return to France, the prosecutor's office said. The other three were picked up in the capital on Monday afternoon.

The five were detained at the request of several special anti-terrorist judges, the prosecutor's office said.

A security official said the suspects were questioned in a probe of a network of French fighters sent to the lawless tribal zones of western Pakistan where the Taliban militia flourish.

The suspects are being questioned by police and intelligence agency officers, said the official, close to the investigation. He spoke on condition of anonymity since he is not authorized to publicly discuss ongoing investigations.

Since September, France has been especially vigilant on terrorism-linked matters following warnings — including one in a recent audio message from Osama bin Laden — that French citizens were targets for al-Qaida. Citizens who leave home to train in terrorist techniques are of particular concern for France and other European countries.

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