“One asks himself why a certain number of young French people are in Pakistan in religious schools,” Sarkozy said. One also asks himself why this training for violence and mayhem always seems to take place in religious schools, and I don’t mean the local Methodist Sunday school, and why so few (if any) officials are facing the implications of that fact, either in Pakistan or in the West. “France Says Extremists Are Enlisting Its Citizens: Police Assert Some Trained in Mideast Could Attack Paris,” from the Washington Post, with thanks to Kemaste:
PARIS — French police investigating plans by a group of Islamic extremists to attack targets in Paris discovered last month that the group was recruiting French citizens to train in the Middle East and return home to carry out terrorist attacks, sources familiar with the investigation said.
One French official said the extremists were using a virtual “underground railroad” through Syria to spirit European and Middle Eastern citizens into and out of Iraq. A senior French law enforcement official, who declined to be quoted by name because he was speaking about classified information, said French citizens had undergone terrorist training at camps in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.
“There’s always been an enormous jihad zone to train people to fight in their country of origin,” the official said. “We saw it Afghanistan, in Bosnia, in Kosovo, and now we’re seeing it in Iraq.”
What’s new, he said, is that the French cell under investigation “is linked with networks in Iraq, right now, through an individual based in Syria. Now we’re finding camps in Syria and Lebanon, and it’s the same pattern, training in explosives and chemical weapons, which is an obsession of the jihadists.”
In a recent television interview, French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy called the terror risk for Paris “very high,” adding, “We know that there are about 10 young Frenchmen in Iraq, ready to become kamikazes.”
“One asks himself why a certain number of young French people are in Pakistan in religious schools,” Sarkozy said. “It’s not normal that an individual who lives in our neighborhoods leaves all of a sudden for four months in Afghanistan, three months in Syria. We want to know who is going where, for how long, and when they come back.”