PARIS – Paris police on Friday detained eight French terror suspects who were expelled by Egypt, judicial officials said.
Egyptian authorities expelled the eight Frenchmen along with two Belgians Thursday on a charter flight for Brussels, an official at Cairo's international airport said.
The men, along with an American, another French citizen and an unknown number of Egyptians and Arabs from other countries, were arrested late last month by Egyptian authorities for allegedly belonging to an Islamist terror cell plotting attacks. The ninth French citizen and the American remain in Egyptian custody.
The French suspects were brought from Brussels to Paris by car. Upon their arrival early Friday morning, the Paris police's anti-terrorist division immediately took the men into custody for questioning. Under French law, they can be held without charges for up to four days.
The suspects' arrival in France coincides with the visit of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who is in Paris Friday for talks with French President Jacques Chirac and to inaugurate an exhibition of ancient Egyptian artifacts.
The eight suspects are between 25 and 35 years old. Roughly half of them are known to French police.
Egyptian officials said the suspects were allegedly living in Egypt under the guise of studying Arabic and Islamic studies and had formed a militant cell that was plotting attacks.
Egypt has witnessed a string of suicide terror attacks in recent years at Sinai Peninsula tourist resorts and operates under emergency laws, which gives the government wide powers to detain suspects without charging them. The laws have been in place since the assassination of President Anwar Sadat in 1981, despite growing opposition to them from both inside and outside the country.