Officials say a man detained in a counterterrorism raid in Paris has connections to the suspected ringleader of the November 13 attacks on the French capital. He was allegedly found with a small amount of explosives.
The man, identified as Reda Kriket, was arrested in the northwestern Paris suburb of Argenteuil. He is suspected of planning an attack on France.
Police sources speaking on condition of anonymity said the 34-year-old French national had been wanted since January on suspicion of links to terrorism. In Belgium last July he was found guilty in absentia, along with Abdelhamid Abaaoud and others, of being part of a recruiting network for jihad in Syria, the sources said.
Authorities have identified Abaaoud as the ringleader of the attacks on Paris, in which militants armed with guns and bombs killed more than 130 people at different sites across the city last November. Abaaoud was killed in a police raid a few days after the attacks.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve told journalists Kriket was in the "advanced stages" of a plot to attack the country. He added, however, that there was "no tangible evidence linking the plot to either the attacks in Paris or Brussels."
The minister said the suspect had been under surveillance "for several weeks" and that the arrest was also the result of "close and constant cooperation between European services."
Authorities across Europe are on high alert following Tuesday's bombings in Brussels which killed 31 people and injured more than 300. Police in Belgium said they had arrested six terror suspects in raids overnight.
nm/jil (AFP, AP)