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Alleged Iraqi war criminal arrested in France

Shia-Muslim fighters in Tikrit in 2015 RFI/Angélique Férat

An Iraqi refugee in France thought to be a former senior member of the Islamic State armed group has been arrested in Paris and indicted on suspicion of "war crimes" over his alleged involvement in a massacre in his country.

The 33-year-old man, referred to as Ahmed H, is accused of having participated in the June 2014 capture and execution of an estimated 1,700 young army recruits, most of them Shia-Muslims, from the Speicher military camp to the north of Tikrit.

Ahmed H was arrested in March and indicted days later.

He denies any involvement.

The Paris prosecutor said the suspect was placed in pre-trial detention and faces a range of charges including "killings in connection with a terrorist group" and "war crimes".

Having arrived in France in the summer of 2016, Ahmed H obtained refugee status a year later and was given a 10-year resident card.

Shortly after being granted his refugee status, Ahmed H was identified and followed by intelligence services, who then notified judicial authorities.