Four arrested in France for planning terrorist attack
Up to 2,000 French citizens are believed to be involved with jihadi networks, according to the country's interior ministry. (AFP/File)
French authorities said Wednesday they have arrested four people for planning a terrorist attack next January that targeted the country's military installations.
The four suspects were arrested Monday, officials said, and vary between the ages of 16 and 23. Officials said one was a former naval recruit, and that the group's leader has connections to jailed jihadists, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said.
"The inquiry is continuing, and the legal authorities will give more information when appropriate," Cazeneuve said in Britain's Guardian.
According to investigators, the four were planning the attack for January 2016, which involved targeting a military installation in the south of France and beheading a senior military official, the Sydney Morning Herald reported Wednesday.
Those involved in the attack also supposedly planned to film the decapitation with a high-definition camera and post it online, the Guardian report said.
France remains on alert six months after attacks in and around Paris resulted in the deaths of 17 people. Last month, a militant tried to blow up a US-owned gas plant near Lyon.
Tuesday, explosions happened at a pair of petroleum tanks in southern France that officials believe may be terror-related -- and possibly linked to the theft of explosive devices from a nearby military camp last week.
"At the (Bastille Day) ceremony, the President reminded us that every week we prevent ... terrorist acts," Cazeneuve said. "That was once again the case this week."
The interior minister also said the leader of the four suspects has previously stated his desire to go fight with ISIS in Syria. Security officials have identified nearly 2,000 people in France known to be involved in jihadist networks. Of those, about 500 were currently fighting with Islamists in Syria and Iraq, Cazeneuve said.
By Doug G. Ware
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