x

Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 June 2018

Nine arrested as terror plot is thwarted in France

Raids across the country by anti-terror police are reported to have stopped another attack

The car of an alleged suspect parked outside his residence in Menton, southeastern France. AFP/Valery Hache
The car of an alleged suspect parked outside his residence in Menton, southeastern France. AFP/Valery Hache

Following a series of raids across the country, French police appear to have disrupted a potential terror plot, according to reports in local media.

Nine suspects have been arrested in the Île-de-France region around Paris and the Provence-Alpes-Côtes-d'Azur region in the south of the country, where a possible attack on Nice was reportedly thwarted.

The individuals are aged between 18 and 60 and were picked up by terror police across the country.

Swiss officials said a 23-year-old Colombian woman was taken into custody after police raids there. A Swiss man aged 27 was among those arrested in parallel French police swoops linked to extremist activity, they added.

French police conducted simultaneous raids on premises on the eastern edge of Paris and in the southeastern region that borders Italy and Switzerland, a source in the French judiciary said.

Le Parisien newspaper said it was possible the raids had thwarted an attack.

The French judicial source spoke of suspected participation in a criminal terrorist network and of communications via the Telegram network that many militants use because messages can be encrypted.

A Swiss statement cited suspected involvement in terrorist activity and banned Islamist militant groups such as Al-Qaeda and Islamic State.

The arrests took place a week after France introduced tougher national security laws to permanently replace emergency powers given to police and intelligence services following deadly attacks by Islamist militants on Paris two years ago.

More than 240 people have been killed in France since early 2015 in attacks by Islamist militants or assailants inspired by the Daesh group, which has sought to establish a caliphate in Syria and Iraq and called for attacks on France.

France is among countries contributing to military operations against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb, who says 32 attack plots have been thwarted in the past two years in France, played down the latest operation when asked about it during a visit to Berlin.

“It’s part of operations which, sadly, are conducted relatively regularly, where we arrest a number of people we consider dangerous,” he said.