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French police foil 'advanced’ terror plot near Paris

© Geoffroy Van der Hasselt, AFP | Police raid the district of Argenteuil on March 25

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2016-03-30

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve on Thursday said police had foiled a terror plot that was in its “advanced stages” following an arrest and a subsequent search of the suspect's apartment in the northern Paris suburb of Argenteuil.

Cazeneuve, speaking at a press conference late on Thursday, said there were no links "at this stage" between the foiled plot and recent terrorist attacks in Paris or Brussels.

The interior minister said bomb squads were on site in the building located around 15 kilometres north of the French capital.

“This arrest is the result of a careful investigation that began several weeks ago, and which mobilised important human and technical surveillance resources, as well as close and ongoing co-operation with European intelligence agencies," Cazeneuve said.

'Explosives, weapons have been found'

He noted that the person arrested was a French national, implicated at a "high level" in the plot, but offered no other details.

“Several people have been evacuated while others have been asked to stay indoors,” FRANCE 24’s Clement Bonnerot reported from Argenteuil.

The suspect was known to French secret services and his arrest was the result of a weeks-long investigation.

Quantities of an explosive called triacetone triperoxide or TATP were also found. Some of the TATP was ready to use while police also found more of its core ingredients, acetone and oxygenated water.

Police sources said the arrested man had been found guilty in absentia in Brussels last July of being part of a network recruiting jihadists to Syria and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Investigations showed he played a key role in financing the network with money from robberies and stolen goods.

Among those who went to Syria through the network were Abdelhamid Abaaoud and another Paris attacker, Chakib Akrouh.

Abaaoud, a 28-year-old Belgian of Moroccan origin, was a notorious jihadist who had appeared in grisly Islamic State group videos and was behind several failed attack plots in Europe.

On November 13 he formed part of the 10-man team of gunmen and suicide bombers that launched a series of attacks across Paris.

He was killed five days later in a police raid outside Paris during which Akrouh blew himself up, also killing Abaaoud's female cousin.

(FRANCE 24 with AP and AFP)

Date created : 2016-03-24

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