Paris: France has arrested the webmaster of a jihadist site on charges of "provoking" terrorism, prosecutors said on Thursday, just as the government warned hundreds of homegrown Islamist militants were signing up for Syria.
The 26-year-old, identified as Romain, was detained on Tuesday for his role as administrator of the Ansar al Haqq website, a "reference" for the radical Islamist movement, and as a translator of magazines put out by militant group Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Paris prosecutors said.
The announcement comes as French Interior Minister Manuel Valls warned that more than 300 nationals or residents were either fighting in Syria`s devastating civil war, planning to go or had recently returned from there.
Most of them were young men, often with a delinquent past, who had become radicalised, he said.
"This is a phenomenon which worries me because they represent a potential danger when they return to our soil," Valls said. "We have to be extremely attentive."
Detained by intelligence officers in his native Calvados region of northern France, Romain said he converted to Islam when he was 20, prosecutors said.
The Ansar al Haqq website that he manages "has more than 4,000 members including 685 that are active" and Romain published statements from al Qaeda`s north African branch AQIM on it, they added.
They said an investigation also found that the suspect had "an active role in the translation into French and the distribution of the 10th and 11th editions of the magazine Inspire."
Inspire is an English-language propaganda magazine published by AQAP that offers theological support and praise for jihadists.