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France: Islamists seeking to avenge death of Muslim shooter
Updated 4/6/2012 4:09 PM ET

PARIS (AP) — France's interior minister says some Islamist groups in France want to avenge the death of a Muslim radical, who the government says was responsible for the killing of seven people in a shooting spree in the country's south.

Claude Gueant, speaking on French radio Europe 1 Friday, said that authorities have observed increased "desire" and "enthusiasm" among such groups to avenge the death of Mohamed Merah, a Frenchman of Algerian descent, killed in a standoff with police last month.

President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is facing a tough re-election in a presidential vote, with a first round April 22, has put security high on his agenda.

Gueant called on the people to be "vigilant and attentive."

French security agencies are already on edge and have carried out sweeps, detaining 10 people from five cities Wednesday in the latest roundup. Four of them were released Thursday after questioning and a judicial official said that the other six would be released late Friday.

The official was not authorized to speak publicly and asked not to be named.

On Tuesday, preliminary charges were filed against 13 people who were detained in a raid last week, all members of Forsane Alizza, or Knights of Pride, a recently banned group. Nine of them were jailed. The four others were released, but must report to officials.

The March killings of three paratroopers, a rabbi and three Jewish school children in the Toulouse region in southwest France has shocked the nation. However, Sarkozy has come under criticism for using the raids and expulsions to further his campaign.

Posted 4/6/2012 4:02 PM ET
Updated 4/6/2012 4:09 PM ET
French Interior Minister Claude Gueant called Friday on French people to be "vigilant and attentive" due to a possible retaliation for the death of Muslim shooter.
By Bob Edme, AP
French Interior Minister Claude Gueant called Friday on French people to be "vigilant and attentive" due to a possible retaliation for the death of Muslim shooter.