France arrests several alleged Kurdish PKK militants

AFP , Tuesday 20 Sep 2011

French police target members of Kurdish separatist group in crackdown in country's south

French intelligence officers acting on a warrant from an anti-terrorism judge arrested several members of the PKK, a Kurdish separatist group, on Tuesday, an official told AFP.

In an operation led by officers of the DCRI intelligence agency, police targeted several addresses in the south of the country, including a Kurdish cultural centre in the port city of Marseille, the source said.

The PKK, which is listed as a terrorist group by Ankara and much of the international community, has been battling for an independent Kurdish homeland in south-eastern Turkey since 1984, in a conflict that has claimed an estimated 45,000 lives.

The arrests were authorized by Thierry Fragnoli, a Paris magistrate tasked with investigating terrorist offences. The operation targeted only a handful of individuals, but it was not immediately clear how many had been caught.

Since 2009, there have been several raids against suspected PKK militants and financiers in southern France, where cities like Marseille often host substantial Kurdish expatriate communities.

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