Paris, June 17 (Reuters): French police launched a major swoop today on a Left-wing Iranian exile group based in the Paris region, rounding up 167 sympathisers for questioning over possible links to terrorism and seizing $1.3 million in funds.
The interior ministry said around 1,300 police and national security officers descended on homes and office of the Peopleís Mujahideen from 0400 GMT in a raid ordered by leading anti-terrorist investigating judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere.
Television pictures showed masked riot police equipped with automatic rifles as they stormed houses, with helicopters circling overhead. Soon afterwards, some were seen carrying boxes of files and paperwork from the raided premises.
Among those detained was Miryam Rajavi, wife of Mujahideen founder Massoud Rajavi and head of the exile umbrella group National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), police said. Nine people were released immediately, while the rest were detained.
Police said they had also seized $1.3 million in $100 bills from the Mujahideen, the main armed opposition to Tehranís Islamic leadership, along with computers and communications equipment.
The Mujahideen joined the 1979 Islamic revolution but later broke from the ruling clerics. Based in Iraq since the early 1980s, their fighters clashed with US forces in the recent Iraq war but reached a truce with them last month.