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Taliban training French Muslims in northwestern Pakistan: Intel officials

Islamabad, Sun, 25 Mar 2012 ANI

Islamabad, Mar 25 (ANI): Dozens of French Muslims are reportedly being trained by the Taliban in northwestern Pakistan, intelligence officials have revealed.

The report has raised fears of future attacks following the shooting deaths of seven people in southern France, allegedly by a man who spent time in the region.

Approximately 85 Frenchmen have been training with the Pakistani Talibanin the North Waziristan tribal area for the past three years, Fox News quoted the intelligence officials, as saying.

Most of the men reportedly have dual nationality with France and North African countries.

The Frenchmen operate under the name Jihad-e-Islami and are being trained to use explosives and other weapons at camps near the town of Miran Shah and in the Datta Khel area, the officials said. They are led by a French commander who goes by the name Abu Tarek.

Five of the men returned to France in January 2011 to find new recruits, according to the officials.

Authorities are investigating whether Mohamed Merah, the Frenchman of Algerian descent who is suspected of killing three Jewish schoolchildren, a rabbi and three French paratroopers in Toulouse this month, was among the training group, the officials said.

Merah was killed in a dramatic gunfight with police on Thursday after a 32-hour standoff at his Toulouse apartment. The 23-year-old former auto body worker traveled twice to Afghanistan in 2010 and to Pakistan in 2011, and said he trained with the al-Qaeda in the Pakistani militant stronghold of Waziristan. (ANI)

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