Two men arrested in France suspected for planning attack before elections

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - Two men have been arrested in France on suspicion of planning an “imminent” terror attack, five days before the country's presidential election.

The suspects, aged 29 and 23, were picked up by the French intelligence service, the General Directorate for Internal Security, in the southern city of Marseille, police sources said.

Interior Minister Matthias Fekl said the pair were French nationals that had been radicalised.

They were known to the country's intelligence services, he said, adding that security services had found evidence that they were "planning a terrorist attack".

Intelligence services had been hunting the pair since the end of last week for breaching weapons laws.

Explosives were recovered during search of a rented apartment in the port city.

France remains under a state of emergency which has been in place since the November 2015 attacks on Paris and last year's lorry attack on the front of the seaside resort of Nice, which claimed the lives of more than 200 people.

The arrests came shortly after Mr Fekl announced that 50,000 police officers supported by military units will be mobilised across the 67,000 polling stations, where voters will cast their vote in the presidential election this weekend.

"No threat is being ruled out," he said.

He told the Journal du Dimanche newspaper that the risk of a terrorist attack was "high and permanent".

The French intelligence agency has warned the main candidates over "a specific threat on their security and on their campaign headquarters".

Snipers and elite law enforcement units were present during conservative Francois Fillon's rally in Montpellier this weekend.

France will go to the polls to choose its next President on 23 April and a second round will take place on 7 May between the two candidates with the most votes.




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