de Villepin: Youssouf F. arrested in Ivory Coast, could be retunred to France within hours.
By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
Ivory Coast police have arrested a suspect in the brutal torture and slaying of a young Jewish man in France, the French premier said Thursday.
The man, identified as Youssouf F., could be returned to France within hours, Dominique de Villepin said on Canal Plus TV, adding that French and Ivory Coast police cooperated in the arrest.
President Jacques Chirac will attend a memorial Thursday evening for the young man, Ilan Halimi, a 23-year-old mobile phone salesman. He was kidnapped Jan. 21 and tortured in the southern Paris suburb of Bagneux.
French officials believe anti-Semitism may have played a role in the killing. Halimi was kidnapped after a meeting with a young woman. His family later received a series of ransom demands - starting with one for around US$537,000.
Villepin will join Chirac at the ceremony at Paris' main synagogue.
On Monday, French authorities found Halimi naked, handcuffed and covered with burn marks near railroad tracks south of Paris. He died on his way to a hospital.
About a dozen people have been arrested in the case.
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