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French police arrest four over planned ‘violent acts’

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2016-03-17

French anti-terrorism police on Wednesday arrested four suspected jihadists, one of whom was believed to be planning “violent acts”, said Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve.

"We received information about one individual... that he might commit violent acts in France," Cazeneuve said on French television.

"So this morning he was arrested along with three members of his entourage and checks are under way. I call on everyone to be extremely prudent regarding reports that are circulating about an imminent violent act."

Earlier Wednesday, French TV station TF1 reported that three men and one woman were arrested at dawn in Paris and the nearby northern suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis. Security forces had files on four of them for their Islamist ties, the TV station reported.

The four were suspected of planning an imminent attack in central Paris, TF1 reported.

However, police sources later told the AFP the reports of an imminent attack plan were preliminary.

"You can't at this stage talk about a plan of imminent attack," said an unnamed police source.

Suspect known to French security officials

The arrests came a day after French police supported their Belgian counterparts in a raid in the Belgian capital of Brussels, which was linked to the November 13, 2015, Paris attacks.

One suspect, identified as an Algerian national living illegally in Belgium, was killed in the raid. Four police officials were lightly wounded after coming under gunfire at an apartment in the Brussels suburb of Forest Tuesday.

Wednesday’s arrests in the Paris region were conducted at dawn, according to TF1. The TV station identified the suspects as Aytac and Ercan B., two French brothers of Turkish origin.

The third man, identified as Youssef E., was of particular interest to French intelligence services, said TF1. The 28-year-old Frenchman has been sentenced to five years in prison in March 2014 after he was arrested at an airport while trying to leave France to join the jihad in Syria.

He was released in October 2015, and was put under house arrest in February under the extraordinary powers vested in French security forces under the state of emergency, which was passed after the Paris attacks.

There were no details available on the woman arrested early Wednesday.

 

Date created : 2016-03-16

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