France thwarts suspected new terror attack

USA Today

French anti-terrorism forces arrested four people, including a 16-year-old girl, and uncovered a makeshift laboratory with explosives material as they thwarted a suspected new terror attack, the Paris prosecutor’s office said Friday.

The arrests Friday were in the Montpellier area of southern France. The prosecutor’s office said around 70 grams of TATP were seized. The explosive, which can be made from readily available ingredients, was used in the November 2015 attack in Paris and the March 2016 attack in Brussels carried out by Islamic State extremists. The men arrested were aged 20, 26 and 33.

Unconfirmed French media reports said the people arrested were planning a suicide bombing on a tourist site in Paris. The prosecutor’s office, which handles terrorism investigations in France, has not commented on the reports.

The arrests came a week after a machete-wielding assailant who shouted “Allahu Akbar!” was shot by soldiers outside the Louvre Museum in central Paris. Investigators found no links between the Egyptian-born attacker and militant groups but the episode occurred as France remains on high alert for new attacks.

Amid heightened new security measures, Paris’ city council announced this week that it plans to permanently install a bullet-proof glass barrier around the Eiffel Tower. A temporary fence was put in place last June.