France's Interior Minister Gueant speaks to m
France's Interior Minister Gueant speaks to mReuters

Muslim extremists arrested in France had planned to kidnap a Jewish judge in Lyon, sources told AFP. Other kidnappings were planned as well.

The detainees had undergone “warlike training linked to violent religious indoctrination,” said Bernard Squarcini, head of France’s Central Directorate for Domestic Intelligence.

President Nicolas Sarkozy would not confirm the kidnapping plot claims, but said, “If we carried out these arrests and are questioning them it’s because there were extremely serious elements.” The allegations of a kidnapping plot are “plausible,” Sarkozy said.

Some of the 16 in custody are members of the Forsane Alizza (“Knights of Pride”) organization, a banned group that included Toulouse murderer Mohammed Merah among its members.

In addition to arresting several terror suspects, France has expelled five foreign “Islamic radicals.” The arrests and expulsions are part of the crackdown that has followed Merah’s attacks, which killed three French soldiers, a rabbi, and three young Jewish children.