French security forces detained five people Tuesday and broke up a jihadi recruiting network in a small southern town that has sent several French youths to fight in Syria and Iraq, the interior minister said.
At least six young people from Lunel, a town of about 27,000, have died in Iraq and Syria in recent months, authorities have said.
In December the head of the local Muslim union, who also manages a mosque there, refused to condemn the 10 or more residents who have left Lunel to join the extremists. Instead, he charged that Hollande’s harsh rhetoric against Syrian President Bashar Assad had encouraged young people to go there to fight.
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