Police in France on Tuesday arrested two “radicalized” Frenchmen, thwarting what authorities called an “imminent” attack just days before a presidential election.
French Interior Minister, Matthias Fekl, speaking at a brief news conference, said police confiscated guns and bomb-making materials from the men. He provided no other details about their potential targets or motives, but said he suspected the attack was planned for “the eve of the French presidential election.”
"These two men, radicalized, born respectively in 1987 and 1993, and of French nationality, intended to commit an attack on the French soil in the very short term, which is to say in coming days,” he said.
Fekl said the two men were arrested in the southern city of Marseille by French domestic security agents. He said investigations are currently taking place, and, already, police have found “elements that substantiate the terror attack project.”
French right-wing presidential candidate Marine Le Pen told the AFP news agency police warned her about the two men last week and her security team received photographs of the two men on Thursday.
President Francois Hollande called the arrests “remarkable” and praised police for stopping the planned terror attack.
“All I can say is that our police services have worked remarkably well to stop two people who will now be put in front of the judges and police officers so that we know exactly what their intentions are,” he said while speaking in the central city of Le Creusot.
France has been on a high alert for terrorism since January 2015, when an Islamist gunmen stormed a magazine office and began killing people. Since then, more than 230 people have been killed by terrorists in France.