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France thwarts 'imminent' terrorist attack, arrests four suspects: minister

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-02-11 15:19

PARIS - French police foiled "an imminent" terrorist plot after arresting four suspects in the southern town of Montpellier earlier on Friday, French Interior Minister Bruno Le Roux said.

During a raid by anti-terrorism units, four people were detained in and around Montpellier with "three of them are directly suspected of preparing violent action on our territory," Le Roux said in a statement.

"This operation, according to initial indications, has foiled an imminent attack," he added.

Le Roux confirmed three men and a minor female suspect were arrested during the raid in which police found explosives and other bomb-making materials.

One of the suspects was believed to be planning a suicide bombing assault against targets which were not identified yet, according to news channel BFMTV.

The 21-year-old man tried to join insurgents in Syria in November 2015. His 16-year-old girlfriend, the minor female suspect, had recorded on Feb 8 a video in which she pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS).

Recently, an Egyptian national, armed with two machetes, attacked soldiers patrolling the area near Louvre Museum. He slightly injured a serviceman before being seriously shot. He reportedly said he acted alone to avenge Syrian civilians.

Risks of terrorist attacks remain high in France where a state of emergency has been declared after a group of terrorists killed 130 people in a series of explosions and shootings on Nov 13, 2015.

In 2016, police foiled 17 terrorist attacks, according to official data.

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