By Emmanuel Jarry and John Irish
French anti-terrorism police arrested eight people on Tuesday on suspicion of being part of a network linked to recruiting young people for jihad in Syria, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said.
The suspects, who can be held for up to 96 hours without charge, were arrested in the northern suburbs of Paris and the Lyon region, he said, according to remarks published on the ministry’s Twitter feed.
“They are now in the hands of the police. It is a Syria issue,” an official at the Paris prosecutor’s office said.
The government estimates that about 1,300 French citizens have links to recruitment cells for Syria and Iraq, of which about 400 are already fighting alongside militants.
The arrests come after President Francois Hollande’s Socialist government unveiled a raft of new security measures in response to attacks in Paris in January by homegrown Islamist militants in which 20 people were killed, including the three attackers.