French authorities detained six individuals believed to have joined an Islamist group and participated in combat in Syria, the Associated Press reports.
The alleged extremists went into custody on Tuesday, in an early-morning raid that came less than a month after Paris unveiled plans to stem the flow of French nationals into Syria. Officials in France, the United Kingdom and the United States have aired concerns that foreign fighters in the violence-torn state could receive training and inspiration to carry out attacks after they depart.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Tuesday’s raid in the northeastern city of Strasbourg “went down perfectly,” and demonstrated “the total determination of the government to fight with all its power against terrorism and the enlisting of youths in violent radicalization.”
“I’m often asked what happens to people who leave to wage jihad in Syria when they return to France,” Cazeneuve said. “It’s simple: They’re connected with a terrorist enterprise, arrested and handed over to justice.”
A judge has received investigative responsibility for the six suspects, he added, without elaborating. The individuals remained in detention.
Cazeneuve did not comment on a news report tying Tuesday’s law-enforcement action to a probe of 14 youths suspected of traveling to Syria after telling their families they were leaving in December for holiday travel. The implicated men were said to have traveled through Turkey to reach the war-divided Middle Eastern nation.