Agents of the French anti-terrorist police and the domestic intelligence service DCRI have arrested 12 suspected Islamist militants in southern France, LCI television reported on Tuesday.
The arrests were carried out in and around the cities of Bordeaux, Marseille and Avignon and were connected with two separate investigations.
Three of the people were taken into custody because they are suspected of having ties to Ryad Hannouni, a French citizen of Algerian descent who was arrested Saturday in the Italian city of Naples in possession of bomb-making equipment.
Hannouni reportedly just returned to Europe from a terrorist training camp in the border area between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The names and phone numbers of the three suspects were found on Hannouni’s cellphone.
The other nine people were arrested as part of an investigation into an Islamic militant cell that allegedly offers accommodations and false passports to French citizens who underwent training in terrorist camps and wanted to return to France.
The online edition of the daily Le Parisien reported that police also seized several weapons and ammunition.
The arrests came after the U.S. and Japan issued travel advisory to its citizens travelling to Europe.