France vows 'no tolerance' for anti-Semitism after arrests
PARIS: French authorities vowed Tuesday to show zero tolerance for anti-Semitism as new details emerged of the suspects detained in a crackdown on Islamic extremists who allegedly targeted the Jewish community.
Videos of the suspects show the alleged leader of a militant cell rapping about the September 11 attacks and another suspect saying he converted to Islam after a failed attempt to become a professional footballer in Britain.
Speaking after meeting top security officials, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said the government was resolute in combatting extremism.
"I want to affirm the government's determination to fight against terrorism, as much inside our country as outside our borders," Ayrault said after meeting the interior and justice ministers to discuss the arrests.
"I know we can count on the support of the French people. We will not tolerate any form of racism or anti-Semitism," he said.
French authorities are on alert after a sweep at the weekend that left one man dead and 12 others in detention on suspicion of being involved in the bombing of a Jewish grocery or of planning other anti-Semitic attacks.
Interior Minister Manuel Valls has predicted more arrests and warned of possibly hundreds of home-grown militants at large.
The suspected leader of those detained, 33-year-old Jeremie Louis-Sidney, was shot dead Saturday after he opened fire on officers seeking to arrest him in a dawn raid at his home in Strasbourg.
France 2 public television has since broadcast a video of Louis-Sidney, reportedly recorded in May 2009, showing him rapping about his beliefs.
Dressed in a hooded winter jacket and wearing a Palestinian keffiyeh scarf, Louis-Sidney claims that "September 11 was just the tip of the iceberg".
"Know that you are being manipulated. If you don't understand, educate yourself," he raps in the video, ending with the phrase "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greatest). (continue reading...)