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Three alleged jihadis deported from Pakistan to France

Reuters

French police are questioning three men deported from Pakistan, accused of going there to train to fight in Afghanistan. The three have been held in secret in Pakistan for the last 10 months after entering the country illegally.

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The three men, aged 30, 29 and 27, said they had come to Pakistan to study Islam and to fight in Afghanistan, according to an investigator.

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They were arrested entering Pakistan illegally from Iran along with Naamen Meziche, another Frenchman already known to French intelligence and believed to have links to Al-Qaeda.

Meziche is still detained in Pakistan but is to be deported to France where he is likely to face charges.

Officials say the three men left their homes in Orleans, south of Paris, in January 2012, telling their families they were going on a pilgrimage to Mecca.

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Five months later they were detained in Pakistan.

The case is likely to draw parallels with Mohammed Merah, who shot dead seven people in Montauban and Toulouse, south-west France, in March 2012.

Merah had visited Pakistan, where he appears to have trained as a jihadi fighter.

It is unclear whether the trio will face charges.

After Merah’s killing spree a law banning French citizens from receiving non-state combat training abroad was passed.

But it did not come into force until December after the three were arrested.

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