Jailed French preacher suspected of radical plans

Jailed French preacher suspected of radical plans

PARIS - The Associated Press
Jailed French preacher suspected of radical plans

Policemen prepare the assault near the Belle Paule residence where they attempt to arrest Mohamed Merah, the man suspected of a series of deadly shootings, was holed up, on March 22, 2012 in Toulouse, southwestern France. ABACA photo

An official says French police detained a radical preacher in December who was ready to lead dozens of young Muslims from the southern city of Nice to Afghanistan.

The official said Monday that Omar Diaby, a 37-year-old Senegalese man, was meeting up with two followers on Dec. 9 when he was stopped by police for an ID check that upended his plans.

The official says Diaby remains behind bars as police investigate his role in the suspected network and in trafficking in stolen car parts.

The official, who is familiar with the investigation, spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to reveal the information.

The news has echoes of the case of Frenchman Mohamed Merah, who traveled to Afghanistan before going on a killing spree this month that took seven lives.