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Published: Saturday June 14, 2014 MYT 7:36:44 PM
Updated: Saturday June 14, 2014 MYT 7:38:18 PM

France deports Tunisian accused of jihadist recruitment for Syria

PARIS (Reuters) - France has deported a Tunisian national suspected of recruiting young French people for jihadist forces in Syria's civil war, the interior ministry said on Saturday.

France, home to Europe's largest Muslim population, is clamping down on jihadist networks operating on its soil amid fears that people who go to fight in Syria may return home dangerously radicalised. It has arrested several people suspected of recruiting fighters for Syria.

The 28-year-old Tunisian man was deported to his country late on Thursday, the interior ministry said. Police sources said he had been arrested last week.

"He played a key role in the recruitment of young jihadists in the Grenoble area (in southeast France) to go to Syria," the ministry said in a statement.

French police arrested another four people last week suspected of ties with Islamist groups fighting in Syria.

The authorities are also holding a French national, 29-year-old Mehdi Nemmouche who is thought to have returned recently from Syria, over a deadly shooting on May 24 at Brussels' Jewish Museum.

The death toll from the Brussels shooting now stands at four. Nemmouche is still in detention and is expected to be extradited to Belgium to stand trial over the attack.

After Nemmouche's arrest was announced on June 1, French President Francois Hollande said about 700 French jihadists were either in Syria or had returned to France after fighting there.

(Reporting by Gus Trompiz and Gerard Bon; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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