French jihadist killed fighting in Syria
Belgian police carried out 46 early morning raids on radical Islamist groups early Tuesday morning in an attempt to stop the recruitment of volunteers to fight the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. A French citizen linked with Belgian Islamist groups was killed in Syria on Sunday.
The family of Raphaël Gendron, a 38-year-old of French and Algerian nationality also known as AbduRaouf Abu Marwa, confirmed on Monday that he died following violent clashes with Assad forces in northern Syria.
Gendron lived for many years in Belgium and had a history of involvement with radical groups around Europe.
In November 2009 he was arrested along with radical imam Bassam Ayachi in southern Italy when found with undocumented migrants in a camping car.
Italian authorities accused the pair of giving logistical support to an international terrorist group linked with al-Qaeda and they were jailed.
But they were freed on appeal in July 2012 and they returned to Belgium.
Authorities were already monitoring his involvement with a radical group called the Belgian Islamic Centre.
He had been fined in 2009 for inciting racial hatred in a video on the group's website.
Gendron left for Syria in February of this year, ostensibly to avoid pursuit by the Belgian authorities.
He was killed while fighting with the Sham Falcons, led by Ayachi's son Abdelrahman who was wounded in the head and the back during the same clashes with pro-Assad forces, a source told the website of SudPresse (Rossel).
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