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France Detains Two Attack Plotters Targeting Elections | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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French arrests over ‘pre-election attack plot’
Members of the French RAID police unit found weapons at the suspects’ homes, AFP

Elite police agents made a qualitative arrest against two men in Marseille Tuesday on suspicion of planning an attack just days before the first round of France’s presidential election.

The two suspects were captured with bomb-making materials and guns found in their possesion. Agents from France’s domestic intelligence agency detained the two Frenchmen — identified only as 23-year-old Clement B. and Mahiedine M., 29 — with Interior Minister Matthias Fekl saying they were known to be “radicalised.”

“They were aiming to commit in the very short term, in other words in the next few days, an attack on French soil,” Fekl said.

Police found guns and bomb-making materials during searches across Marseille. Later in the day, soldiers and police were still sealing off a road in the city where one of the men was arrested.

France remains under a state of emergency after being a frequent target of terror attacks that have killed more than 230 people since January 2015.

In the deadliest attack, ISIS terrorists and suicide bombers slaughtered 130 people in Paris in November 2015.

Candidates have been heavily guarded during the election campaign, but so far there have been few security scares.

Last week, photos of the two suspects in the attack plot were distributed to the security teams for far-right candidate Marine Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron.

“The photos were passed to my security service from Thursday,” Le Pen told AFP, while an aide to Macron also confirmed his campaign team received the pictures.

Conservative candidate Francois Fillon was also warned about the danger last week, an aide said.