Two Arrested Amid Counter-Terror Op as Explosive Components Found Near Paris

Two Arrested Amid Counter-Terror Op as Explosive Components Found Near Paris

A peroxide-based explosive that has been employed by Islamic extremists was found Wednesday in an apartment outside Paris that authorities suspect might have been in use as a lab for possible attacks, two French officials said.

Some of the products found in the flat in Villejuif could be used to make the unstable explosive TATP, one source close to the investigation said.

Police found ingredients that can be used to produce the home-made explosive TATP, commonly used in attacks by the Islamic State group (IS), a source close to the case said.

A counterterrorism probe was opened under potential charges of "criminal terrorist association" and production, possession and transportation of explosive substances "in relation with a terrorist action by an organized gang".

According to Le Parisien, police were tipped off by a plumber who was at the apartment to fix a leak. Investigators believe the house was used to make bombs that were meant to be used in the August 17 attack that killed 16 people.

It is reported two of the suspects are French nationals of North African origin who were not previously known to police.

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Speaking Thursday on Franceinfo radio, Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said the men in custody - two were arrested on Wednesday and a third overnight - "were involved in terrorism".

The unnamed man noticed chemicals on a balcony of the flat as well as a soldering iron and hot plate through the window.

A jihadist cell behind twin attacks that claimed 16 lives in Barcelona and Cambrils, Spain, last month had been preparing TATP.

"It is possible there were links, but honestly I don't know", Collomb said.

France has been under a state of emergency since IS jihadists struck in Paris in November 2015, leaving 130 people dead.

In July 2016, a truck attack in Nice killed 86 people, while a series of smaller assaults have targeted security forces.

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