Phoebe Southworth, Daily Mail, May 18, 2018
Police in France have foiled a suspected terror attack using highly toxic poison and arrested two brothers of Egyptian origin, authorities have said.
Ricin or explosives are thought to have been prepared ahead of the planned attack, according to French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb.
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.
‘There were two young people of Egyptian origin who were preparing to commit an attack, with either explosives or ricin, this very powerful poison,’ said Mr Collomb.
He did not indicate the nationality of the suspects or provide any other details about their arrest.
But a source close to the inquiry said the men were detained in the northern 18th Arrondissement of Paris on May 11.
Just a day later Khamzat Azimov, who also lived in the 18th Arrondissement, carried out his knife rampage in the capital.
Mr Collomb said the men had watched tutorials on how to make ricin-based poisons and communicated via the encrypted messaging app Telecom.
France has been the victim of a string of deadly attacks in recent years.
President Emmanuel Macron’s government is under criticism for not preventing attacks like the one on Saturday, when an Islamic extremist stabbed five people in central Paris, killing one of them.
The assailant in Saturday’s attack, a 20-year-old Frenchman of Chechen origin, had been on a watch list for radicals, like several others who have attacked France in recent years.
The assailant was killed by police, and a close friend of his was arrested and given preliminary terrorism charges Thursday night.
In late March, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe indicated that 51 attacks had been thwarted by French security services since January 2015.
A total of 246 people have been killed in attacks since then.
Jihadist attacks have killed more than 245 people across France since the 2015 Charlie Hebdo shootings.
Here is a recap of incidents that have taken place in the past three years:
2018 March 23: Gunman Radouane Lakdim killed four people in the southern towns of Trebes and Carcassonne, including policeman Lieutenant-Colonel Arnaud Beltrame who was hailed as a hero for taking the place of a hostage. Lakdim was shot dead by police after a stand-off.
2017 October 1: A 29-year-old Tunisian cries ‘Allah Akbar’ and kills two young women with a knife at the main train station in the southern city of Marseille Ahmed Hanachi is shot dead by soldiers on patrol. His attack is claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group.
2017 April 20: A 39-year-old ex-convict shoots dead an on-duty policeman and wounds two others on Paris’ Champs-Elysees avenue Gunman Karim Cheurfi is killed by police and a note praising IS is found next to his body, with the group claiming responsibility.
2016 July 26: Two teenagers slit the throat of an 85-year-old priest in front of five worshippers at his church in the western town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray Abdel Malik Petitjean and Adel Kermiche, both aged 19, are killed by police. The murder is claimed by the IS. The teenagers had sworn allegiance to the group in a video.
2016 July 14: A Tunisian ploughs a truck through a large crowd gathered for Bastille Day fireworks on the Promenade des Anglais in the Mediterranean city of Nice. The attack kills 86 people and injures more than 400. The driver, Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, 31, is shot dead by security forces. IS claims responsibility.
2016 June 13: Larossi Abballa, 25, uses a knife to kill a police officer and his partner at their home in Magnanville, west of Paris, in front of their young son Abballa is killed by a police SWAT team, but has already claimed the murders on social media in the name of IS.
2015 November 13: France is hit by the worst terror attacks in its history. IS jihadists armed with assault rifles and explosives strike outside a France-Germany football match at the national stadium, Paris cafes, and the Bataclan concert hall in a coordinated assault that leaves 130 people dead and more than 350 wounded.
2015 August 21: Passengers prevent a bloodbath on a high-speed Thalys train from Amsterdam to Paris, tackling a man who opened fire on travellers. He was armed with a Kalashnikov assault rifle, an automatic pistol and a box-cutter. The gunman is identified as 25-year-old Moroccan national Ayoub El Khazzani, known to intelligence services for links to radical Islam.
2015 June 26: Frenchman Yassin Salhi, 35, kills and beheads his boss and displays the severed head, surrounded by two Islamic flags, on the fence of a gas plant in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier in southeastern France. He tries to blow up the factory, but is arrested. He commits suicide in his jail cell.
2015 April 19: Sid Ahmed Ghlam, an Algerian IT student, is arrested on suspicion of killing a woman who was found shot dead in her car, and of planning an attack on a church in the Paris suburb of Villejuif. Prosecutors say they found documents about Al-Qaeda and IS at his home, and that he had been in touch with a suspected jihadist in Syria about an attack on a church.
2015 February 3: A knife-wielding man attacks three soldiers guarding a Jewish community centre in Nice. The 30-year-old assailant, Moussa Coulibaly, is arrested. In custody, he expresses his hatred for France, the police, the military and Jews.
2015 January 7-9: Two men armed with Kalashnikov rifles storm the Paris offices of satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo killing 12 people. A policewoman is killed just outside Paris the following day, while a gunman takes hostages at a Jewish supermarket, four of whom are killed. The attackers are killed in separate shootouts with police, but not before claiming allegiance to Al-Qaeda and the IS.