PARIS: Police in France have foiled a suspected terror attack and arrested two brothers of Egyptian origin, French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said on Friday. “There were two young people of Egyptian origin who were preparing to commit an attack, with either explosives or ricin, this very powerful poison,” the minister said on BFMTV.
“They had tutorials that showed how to make ricin-based poisons,” Collomb said, adding that they had communicated via the Telecom encrypted messaging app. The revelation came after a 29-year-old man was killed and five other people injured in a deadly knife attack in Paris last Saturday night.
Collomb did not indicate when they were arrested, but a source close to the inquiry said they were detained in the northern 18th Arrondissement of Paris on May 11, the day before Khamzat Azimov carried out his knife rampage.
One of the men “admitted having wanted to stage an attack,” the source told AFP.
Azimov also lived in the 18th Arrondissement, parts of which are packed with low-income high-rises and a mix of French and immigrant communities.
In late March, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe had indicated that a total of 51 attacks had been thwarted by French security services since January 2015, the beginning of a wave of strikes on French soil, many claimed by the Islamic State group.
A total of 246 people have been killed in attacks since then.