Wednesday 18 October 2017

Five arrested after 'bomb attack' foiled in upmarket area of Paris

Police officers outside Marseille's Saint Charles station after a man stabbed two women to death (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
Police officers outside Marseille's Saint Charles station after a man stabbed two women to death (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

Five people are in custody after being detained by French authorities over an apparent failed bombing attempt in an apartment building in a chic district of Paris.

Police in the capital said a neighbour alerted authorities to suspicious activity in the building in the 16th arrondissement early on Saturday.

A judicial official said an explosive device was found and deactivated and that counter-terrorism prosecutors have opened an investigation.

One of the suspects was under government surveillance for radicalism, Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said on Tuesday.

Asked to explain how someone under surveillance could carry out an attempted attack undetected, Mr Collomb said radicals usually have "friends, networks that can carry out the act", people who do no't show outward signs of radicalisation "but are ready to help".

He said the incident shows that the threat against France remains "extremely big".

"Blowing up a building in a chic neighbourhood of Paris - is this not a sign that no-one is safe? This doesn't happen just in suburbs in working-class neighbourhoods," he said.

The incident came on the same weekend as a man who used multiple aliases stabbed to women to death outside Marseille's main railway station. His motives were unclear, though the attack was claimed by the Islamic State group.

Mr Collomb also stressed the importance of a new counter-terrorism law which expected to win parliamentary approval on Tuesday. Critics say it tramples on individual liberties and puts France in a permanent state of emergency.

"We are still in a state of war, even if the Islamic State group has seen military defeats," said the minister.

AP

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