French police release three people arrested in anti-terror sweep

French police have released three people arrested in an anti-terror sweep last week against a network suspected of funding terror groups, judicial officials said Monday. The three were freed without charges on Saturday after three days of questioning, the officials said on condition of anonymity because of French restrictions on the release of information from investigations.

They were the last of 28 people, North African and French, rounded up in a vast sweep by counterterrorism agents in the Paris area and in the northern Oise region.

Eleven suspects were placed under investigation, a step short of being charged, for alleged criminal association in relation to a terrorist enterprise, and financing of terrorism. Nine were jailed and two released under judicial watch.

The other 14 were released last week without being placed under investigation. Several of those arrested admitted during questioning to an Oct. 7 attempt to hold up an armored car in the town of Beauvais, north of Paris, officials said.

One suspect was to be prosecuted in connection with a French investigation into five suicide bombings in Casablanca, Morocco, on May 16, 2003, that killed 33 bystanders and 12 attackers, they added. Investigators suspect that group members carried out armed robberies to fund Islamic terror groups in France and abroad. Agents seized a stash of guns, ammunition, dynamite and other weapons outside Paris in the probe. I.L.

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