File photo: A police officer stands with members of the RAID police unit officers. AFP
Police in France have foiled a suspected terror attack and arrested two brothers of Egyptian origin in Paris, French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said on Friday. The pair are suspected of planning attack using the poison ricin.
"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.
In February Collomb said that France had foiled two terror attacks since the beginning of the year targeting a leading sports team and the armed forces.
"Since January 1, we have foiled two planned attacks which had not been totally finalised but a number of people were in the process of trying to
execute them," Collomb told Europe 1 radio at the time.
One was "in the east" of the country and one "in the west", he said. One of them was planned against a "big sports team" where "young people were
targeted", and the other the armed forces.
He said police had followed a number of people suspected Islamists and arrested them.
"That is how we were able to thwart" these plots, Collomb said, but declined to give further details as to the location of those held or the planned targets.
According to official figures, 20 attacks were foiled in France in 2017.