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France: 5 terror attacks thwarted, networks broken

Published:Thursday | December 18, 2014 | 12:00 AM

France: 5 terror attacks thwarted,

13 networks broken

PARIS (AP):

France has thwarted five terror attacks and dismantled 13 networks linked to extremists in Syria, but the number of young people leaving to join the fight has doubled in the past year, the country's top security official said yesterday.

French fighters make up the largest contingent of Europeans being recruited to join Muslim extremists in Iraq and Syria, and security officials fear they will return newly skilled in warfare and carry out attacks at home.

Calls by the Islamic State group for lone-wolf attacks in the West have heightened anxiety. A Frenchman who is believed to have fought with the organisation is charged in a deadly shooting at a Brussels Jewish museum.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said yesterday that France was committed to stopping the networks, but said about 1,200 citizens have left for Syria, including about 400 still in the war zone and 200 on their way.