French police have thwarted five terror attacks in recent months, including a plan to target a church on Sunday, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls told France Inter radio station on Thursday.
He told the station that "numerous attacks had already been foiled - five if you take into account the attack which happily did not take place at Villejuif" in the suburbs of Paris, in reference to Sunday's arrest.
Police arrested a 24-year-old Algerian national on Sunday after allegedly plotting an attack on a church in the French capital. However, his plans were uncovered after he accidentally shot himself in the leg and called for an ambulance, prompting police to investigate the matter.
Authorities discovered a weapons cache along with handwritten notes in Arabic making references to "Islamic State" and outlining the attack. His DNA was also linked to the murder of 32-year-old Aurelie Chatelain.
"The threat has never been as high. We have never had to face this kind of terrorism in our history," Valls said.
French citizens in 'terror networks'
Valls added that 1,573 French citizens and residents were linked to "terror networks," with 442 believed to be currently living in Syria.
"I want to remind you that seven French citizens have died while carrying out suicide attacks in Syria or Iraq," Valls added during the interview.
The prime minister's revelations come four months after the Charlie Hebdo attacks left 17 dead in Paris.
ls/kms (AP, AFP, Reuters)