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French police launch new swoops on suspected Islamists


Elite French police arrested 10 suspected Islamists in early morning raids today in several cities, including Marseille, a police source said.

The DCRI domestic intelligence service, supported by elite RAID and GIPN commandos, also carried out arrests in the southern cities of Pau and Valence, and the northeastern town of Roubaix, the source said.

The raids follow the arrest of 19 people on March 30 a week after police snipers shot dead al-Qa'ida-inspired gunman Mohamed Merah, who killed three Jewish school children, a rabbi and three soldiers in a spate of attacks around Toulouse.

"Those arrested have a similar profile to Mohamed Merah," a local police source said. "They are isolated individuals, who are self-radicalised", the source said.

President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is waging an uphill battle for re-election in an April-May vote, has vowed to root out any form of militancy following Merah's killing spree.

Thirteen of the 19 people linked to a radical French Islamist group arrested last week are being put under investigation on suspicion of terrorism, the Paris public prosecutor said on Tuesday.