Police investigating an alleged recruitment network sending Islamic fighters to Iraq detained six men on Tuesday, all linked to a group arrested in February that allegedly worked with an al-Qaida cell in Saudi Arabia, police and judicial officials said.
An anti-terrorism unit made five of the arrests in the Toulouse region of southwest France and one in the rural Lot region, the officials said. None of the officials was authorized to discuss the matter publicly and all asked not to be identified.
The six were aged 25 to 45 and were close to six people arrested in February, two of whom were arrested in Syria and expelled to France, the officials said. They have all since been placed under investigation in the case.
The probe was opened in February into a recruiting network to send fighters to Iraq.
According to a scenario described by the prosecutor's office at the time, the recruits were initially sent to Egypt to learn Arabic and teachings of Salafists "in the most radical schools." Via a cell implanted in Saudi Arabia and linked to al-Qaida, the recruits then were put in touch with a network in Syria that took them to Iraq "to commit terrorist acts, notably suicide attacks."