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Updated: November 4, 2010 17:20 IST

French arrest two suspected of planning terrorist attack

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French Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux. Photo: AP.
French Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux. Photo: AP.

Two brothers suspected of planning a terrorist attack have been arrested by French police, the interior minister said on Thursday, amid heightened vigilance for threats around Europe.

The two French citizens are suspected of “criminal association with a terrorist enterprise with a view to preparing a terrorist act,” Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux said on France—2 television.

France—2 said the brothers were arrested in a Paris suburb on Wednesday.

The two were being questioned on Thursday about what they were planning to do, Mr. Hortefeux said, but provided no other details.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy was among those targeted by more than a dozen mail bombs sent from Greece this week, following an unsuccessful Yemen—based mail bomb plot.

France is already being extra vigilant after threats from al—Qaeda and the kidnapping by the network’s North African affiliate of five French citizens near a uranium mine in Niger.

Mr. Sarkozy held a security meeting on Wednesday to discuss the threats, and Mr. Hortefeux said the government agreed to step up screening of airline passengers and freight from some foreign countries. He did not name the countries.

Mr. Hortefeux defended the government’s efforts to fight terrorism. French police have detained 85 people this year as part of anti—terrorist probes, and 27 remain behind bars, he said.

“We must tell our compatriots the truth without alarming them,” he said. “There is an array of information that leads us to be extremely vigilant.”

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