Paris: The police in southern France’s Marseille city arrested two people and seized guns and bomb-making materials for planning an “imminent and violent attack” ahead of the first round of France’s Presidential election.
French Interior Minister Matthias Fekl said the Mahiedine Merabet and Clement Baur, aged 24 and 30, were French nationals and were detained at different addresses in the southern port city.
“These two radicalised men intended to commit in the very short-term – by that I mean in the coming days – an attack on French soil,” The Guardian quoted Fekl as saying.
François Molins, the Paris prosecutor, has said that an Islamic State (IS) flag and jihadist propaganda were recovered from one of the suspect while the second suspect had links to a Belgian cell. Molins said the two men met in 2015, who were sharing a prison cell for petty crime.
According to local media sources the tip-off had come from the United Kingdom which had “intercepted data on two individuals known to the intelligence services”. The suspects have been detained under arrest warrants for terrorist criminal association.
French President, François Hollande, hailed the “remarkable” arrests.
On Sunday April 23, the French people will vote in the first round of their presidential elections. If no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the votes, the top two candidates will go to a second round on May 7.