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Syrian Kurds catch top French terrorist Thomas Barnouin

Syrian Kurds catch top French terrorist Thomas Barnouin
One of France's most-wanted terrorists, Thomas Barnouin, has been captured by Kurdish YPG rebel fighters in Syria, BBC quoted a French media report on Thursday.

Barnouin, 36, is believed to be linked to a French terrorist cell that included Mohamed Merah, who murdered seven people in the Toulouse area in 2012.

Barnouin was captured about 10 days ago in Hassakeh, north-eastern Syria, with two other French terrorists - Romain Garnier and Thomas Collange. They were with ISIS.

Barnouin is described as a veteran ISIS member, who had been arrested by Syrian soldiers in 2006 while en route to Iraq with another French terrorist, Sabri Essid.

After being handed over to the French authorities, both were jailed for five years in 2009. But after his release in 2014, Barnouin went to fight for ISIS in Syria, accompanied by his wife and children.

A third jihadist was also jailed in France with Barnouin and Essid - Fabien Clain, who claimed the November 2015 Paris attacks in the name of ISIS.

They were in the so-called "Artigat" terrorist cell, named after a village where a radical imam, Olivier Correl, gathered militant followers. He is believed to have inspired Mohamed Merah.

The French government says about 1,700 French citizens have joined ISIS ranks in Iraq and Syria since the start of 2014, and 278 of them have been killed. An estimated 302 have returned to France.

In June, the head of France's special forces, Vice-Admiral Laurent Isnard, said his units were directly involved in street battles against ISIS in Mosul.

US-backed forces pushed ISIS out of Mosul in July and out of Raqqa - the self-declared ISIS "capital" - last month.