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Paris attacks suspect to be released 'on strict conditions'

A man held by police in Belgium since November in connection with the Paris terror attacks will be released today, the country's federal prosecutor has said.

According to state broadcaster RTBF, 35-year-old Belgian national Abdellah C is accused of accompanying Mohamed Abrini - another of the suspects in the November 13 attacks - to the airport when he left to fight in Syria.

Abdellah C will be released under strict conditions, the prosecutor added.

His lawyer said he denied any involvement.


French authorities crackdown on neo-Nazi group

A cache of weapons has been found and 11 people were arrested after the French authorities cracked down on a neo-Nazi group during police raids in eight regions.

France's Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said several weapons were seized. Credit: Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes

Three of the "most active" members of the group appeared in court today to be charged according to France's Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve.

In a statement, Mr Cazeneuve said 11 rifles, two guns, 28 knives, some bullet-proof vests and helmets and several Nazi flags were among the items seized during the raids.

He added that the members of the group, who were allegedly spreading racist messages, were arrested on Wednesday in an investigation of "criminal association" and "participation to a combatant group".


Benzema cleared to contact France team-mate Valbuena

Karim Benzema has been cleared to contact Mathieu Valbuena again, the first step in the Real Madrid forward's possible return to the France team.

Benzema has been under investigation since November in relation to an alleged blackmail attempt against Valbuena, centred on the reported existence of a sex-tape showing the Lyon midfielder and his partner.

A ban on seeing Valbuena was one of the conditions of Benzema's release from custody. Credit: PA

A ban on seeing Valbuena was one of the conditions of Benzema's release from custody and he has been ruled non-selectable for the national team ever since.

The restriction was lifted on February 18, pending an appeal which was dismissed at a hearing on Friday.

"The appeal court of Versailles confirmed the decision of the supervising judge which allowed Karim Benzema to meet with Mathieu Valbuena," Benzema's lawyer Olivier Combe told reporters outside the hearing.

The French Football Federation acknowledged the decision in a brief statement. The FFF also succeeded in an appeal to be considered a civil part to the case, granting access to documents relating to the investigation.

The statement on read: "The French Football Federation takes note of the lifting of restrictions on Karim Benzema. It is a first stage. The FFF has also been recognised as a civil party and can therefore learn of all developments in the case as they happen."

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