Suspected Islamists in Paris court in first trial since attacks

December 1, 2015 21:38

PARIS - The trial began in Paris on Tuesday of seven suspected Islamists, including an alleged Islamic State 'executioner' in Syria -- the first such case to go to court since the group killed 130 people in the French capital last month.

Six of the men were in court for the opening of their trial on terrorism charges, accused of being part of a network that recruited people to travel to join Islamic State in Syria in 2013.

The seventh man, 35-year-old Salim Benghalem, is wanted on an international arrest warrant issued in May 2014. He is suspected of being one of Islamic State's executioners and leading a group of French-speaking jihadis in the group's Syrian stronghold of Raqqa.

"He is the great manipulator of all the French recruits of Daesh," said Roland Jacquard, a Paris-based expert on Islamic militancy, using an Arabic name for the group.

According to Jacquard, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected ringleader of the Paris attacks, was probably under orders from Benghalem.

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