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Four held in France extremist swoop

Four people have been arrested in France in a counter-terrorist operation targeting those suspected of trying to join Islamist extremists abroad.

French interior minister Manuel Valls said on France's BFM television that an operation is under way in the Paris area, linked to the arrest of a French citizen in recent months on the Mali-Niger border. No details were immediately available.

Mr Valls said French authorities are worried about French extremists joining rebels in Syria or the desert region around northern Mali, where Islamist radicals seized power last year and imposed harsh rule on local populations.

France, which fears northern Mali could become a haven for international terrorists, launched a military intervention there last month after the extremists starting advancing towards the capital.

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