'French op dismantles support network for al-Qaida branch'

Group was responsible for twin truck bombings of UN offices, Algerian gov't building that killed 37 people.

handcuffs 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
handcuffs 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
A French intelligence operation has dismantled a logistical support network of the al-Qaida branch that claimed responsibility for a deadly bombing at Algeria's UN offices, a news report said Thursday. Le Figaro newspaper reported that eight men working in connection with al-Qaida in Islamic North Africa were detained Tuesday in the Paris area and in the region around the Normandy city of Rouen. The Interior Ministry did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment on the report. Le Figaro said the DST counterintelligence service worked for months on the operation to dismantle the logistical support network. At suspects' homes, police seized computers and telecommunications equipment that investigators believe was going to be dispatched to the terror group's hideouts in Algeria. The suspects, seven Algerians and a French citizen ages 30 to 35, already had police records and had been under surveillance, Le Figaro said. The men were being held for questioning at an intelligence headquarters outside Paris, it said. Al-Qaida in Islamic North Africa claimed responsibility for twin truck bombings of the UN offices and an Algerian government building that killed at least 37 people, including 17 UN staff members on Dec. 11. The attack was the worst against UN staff since an August 2003 bombing at UN headquarters in Baghdad killed the organization's top envoy in Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello, and 21 others.