Two suspects planning a “violent and imminent attack” have been arrested in Marseille, French Interior Minister Matthias Fekl said, adding that security has been stepped up across the country ahead of this month’s presidential election.
“These two radicalized men, born in 1987 and 1993, of French nationality, intended to commit in the very short-term – by that I mean in the coming days – an attack on French soil,” Fekl told a news conference as cited by Reuters.
The search at the scene of the arrest in the southern city is continuing, and people have been evacuated from a building at the scene, Fekl added.
The arrests were made between 10am and 11am (08:00-09:00 GMT) local time at an apartment the two suspects were renting, according to Europe 1. Guns were reportedly found there.
Earlier reports in French media said there were two potential attackers, aged 23 and 29, both armed. One of the attackers has recently converted to Islam, according to Soir media outlet.
Security surrounding the elections and the candidates has been increased.
France has been on high alert since terror attacks in 2015 and 2016 left over 200 dead in Paris and Nice. Authorities have been particularly concerned that the presidential election, the first round of which is on Sunday, could also become a target.