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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

6 Detained in Shoe-Bombing Case

PARIS -- French anti-terrorism agents have arrested six suspected Islamic militants in connection with a failed plot by a British man to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight last year with a shoe bomb, police officials said Tuesday.

The six suspects, Algerians and Pakistanis, were taken into custody in a suburban Paris roundup of alleged associates of "shoe bomber" Richard Reid, officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

One of the suspects, who were not identified by name, is an imam at a mosque north of Paris, the officials said.

Reid has pleaded guilty in U.S. federal court to charges that he tried to set off explosives in his sneakers during a Dec. 22 flight from Paris to Miami.

The move against Reid's alleged associates is part of a string of terrorism-related arrests in recent days in France, as fears are rising of a potential terrorist strike in Europe.

Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said in an interview published in daily newspaper Le Figaro on Tuesday that France was vulnerable to terrorism.

"France is among the countries most threatened because it is a Western country that has for years joined in the fight against terrorism," he was quoted as saying.

On Monday, police took into custody six other suspected militants who may have links to a foiled plan for a terrorist attack in the eastern French city of Strasbourg in December 2000.

Police said Tuesday that one of those arrested was Slimane Khalfaoui, a French citizen of Algerian descent with ties to Afghan terrorist groups. French police have been searching for him since 1996.

Last week, French agents arrested five suspected Islamic militants from Algeria with alleged links to a fundamentalist group on the U.S. State Department's list of terrorist organizations.

For months, anti-terrorism judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere has been looking into Reid's stay in Paris, searching for contacts he had in France before boarding the flight.

Reid, 29, a British citizen who converted to Islam, was accused of trying to murder 197 passengers and crew members aboard the Paris-to-Miami flight.