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France reports foiled terror attack near Orleans, south of Paris

Two men have been arrested in connection with a foiled jihadist plot near Orleans, south of the capital Paris. Police said the suspects had planned to carry out attacks on security services.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the attacks "targeted representatives of state forces in the Orleans area" and were foiled by the country's internal intelligence agency.

Two men were detained on December 19, both of them French citizens aged 20 and 24 and both who were already known to authorities.

Speaking to the media on Tuesday, Cazeneuve said the pair were "in contact with a French jihadist in Syria," adding that police were trying to establish whether the third person - who is also believed to be a French citizen - had ordered the attacks.

One of the two arrested men told investigators they were planning attacks against soldiers, police and representatives of the state, he added.

A police source told AFP that one of the men was originally from Morocco and the other from Togo, while Reuters cited another source as saying a military barracks and police stations were targeted and that they sought to seize weapons and recruit other attackers.

Security tightened

Cazeneuve also reported that 10 attacks had been prevented in France since 2013 and that 3,414 people have been denied entry to the country since the Paris attacks on November 13 for security reasons.

They were refused entry "due to the risk they present to security and public order," he added.

France withdrew temporarily from the EU Schengen open border agreement following the tragedy, which was claimed by "Islamic State" (IS) and left 130 people dead.

The country has been i

in a state of emergency ever since.

On Wednesday, the French government is expected to propose enshrine its emergency powers in constitutional law in a bid to offer more clarity in times of national crisis.

mm/jm (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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