Brice Hortefeux, France's Minister of the Interior, courtesy of MEDEF via Wikimedia Commons.
PARIS, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Five men were arrested near Paris on charges of training as militants along the volatile Pakistani border with Afghanistan, a French minister said.
French Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux said four men and one woman were suspected of training as terrorists. Only one had actually visited training camps, though the minister said others were planning to attend.
The French nationals detained in and around Paris "clearly belong to the radical Islamist movement," he was quoted by the BBC as saying.
The minister added that one of the suspects was allegedly plotting to kill Dalil Boubakeur, the head of the grand mosque in Paris.
Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, the North African branch of the terrorist group, claimed it kidnapped seven people, including five French nationals, near the Niger uranium mining town of Arlit in September.
AQIM in July announced that it beheaded Michel Germaneau after French authorities botched a raid to rescue the 78-year-old French engineer in Mali. French President Nicolas Sarkozy declared war on AQIM for killing Germaneau.
France has been on a heightened state of alert after detainees in Afghanistan warned of a broad European attacks.
An audio recording released to al-Jazeera in October allegedly contained the voice of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, who called on Paris to pull its troops from Afghanistan and stop meddling in African affairs.