France arrests two over “imminent” attack19/04/17Government
Two men have been arrested on suspicion of planning an “imminent” attack in France just days before the first round of the French presidential election.
Police said they found explosives and several guns at a flat linked to the suspects.
The two Frenchmen, aged 23 and 29, were reportedly radicalised in prison and were detained in Marseille on 18 April.
France remains under a state of emergency after a series of attacks that have claimed around 230 lives.
Three of the leading candidates in the presidential election – Emmanuel Macron, Marine Le Pen and François Fillon – were warned last week of security risks linked to the two men, party officials said.
The two men had met in prison and were known to police as Islamist radicals.
French prosecutor François Molins said they had been planning an “imminent” attack but the target, or targets, remained unknown.
He said they had made three kilograms of the highly volatile explosive TATP, with one batch ready for use.
The General Directorate for Internal Security (DGSI) is said to suspect the pair of plotting an attack to coincide with the election. The men were being held as part of an inquiry into “criminal terrorist association and violating the law on arms relating to a terrorist enterprise”.
Photos of the two suspects were also circulated last week to security officers looking after the two election front-runners Macron and Le Pen.
President François Hollande praised the Marseille operation, which began after 10:00 CET, as a “remarkable capture”.
The interior minister said 50,000 members of the security forces were being deployed for the elections, particularly at polling stations.