French authorities have detained and charged a Belgian-based radical imam suspected of fighting with jihadists in Syria, sources said Wednesday.
Bassam Ayachi, 72, the founder of the Belgian Islamic Centre in Brussels' largely immigrant district of Molenbeek, was arrested on March 27 in northern France under a warrant issued by a Parisian anti-terrorism judge, one of the sources said.
Franco-Syrian Ayachi was jailed in 2009 on another terrorism-related case before being freed three years later before heading to Syria. The French sources did not say when and how he returned to Europe.
Ayachi, a French national by marriage, was cited last month in the case of a French jihadist fighter arrested after spending time first in Syria then Japan, which deported him to France on March 8.