France arrests two for suspected militant links


French police have arrested two people on suspicion of links to terrorist groups, said Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux.

“These are serious counts. They are being questioned at this moment,” Hortefeux told France 2 television, adding:
“They were arrested for (suspicion of) links to a criminal enterprise with a view to preparing a terrorist act.”

He said 85 arrests of a similar kind had been made since the start of the year and that 27 of those were still behind bars, Reuters reports.

Governments, airlines and aviation authorities around the world have been reviewing security since U.S.-bound parcel bombs sent by air from Yemen were intercepted in Dubai and Britain at the end of last week.

France is on high alert after seven people, including five French citizens, were kidnapped by the North African wing of al Qaeda in September.

Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden said in a message aired on Al Jazeera TV on October 27 that the kidnapping of the five French nationals in Niger had been prompted by France’s unjust treatment of Muslims.

French police arrested 12 people in early October in swoops that Hortefeux said at the time were directly linked to a campaign to counter an elevated terrorism threat in Europe.