By Pierre-Antoine Souchard
PARIS – Three people reportedly linked to Osama bin Laden and arrested last week in connection with an alleged plot to attack U.S. interests in France were placed under investigation for terrorism Tuesday.
Four others were expected to be placed under investigation – one step short of being charged – later Tuesday on the same count of “criminal association to prepare a terrorist act,” judicial officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The French newspaper Le Monde reported that the seven – who were arrested Friday in France, Belgium and the Netherlands – were part of a network likely linked to bin Laden, the top suspect in the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
The network was allegedly supervised by Djamel Begal, a French Algerian jailed since July in the United Arab Emirates, Le Monde said.
The report said Begal had made several trips to training camps in Afghanistan supervised by bin Laden, and was likely in direct contact with the Saudi exile, according to police.
The detentions were part of an investigation opened Sept. 10 into possible threats to American interests in France.
Begal informed authorities in the UAE about alleged plans to attack the U.S. Embassy in Paris and other U.S. targets, Le Monde said.
The seven suspects were not connected with four people detained Tuesday in France in a separate terror investigation.
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