France foils terror attacks against 'big sports team', armed forces

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PARIS France has foiled two terror attacks this year targeting a sports team and the armed forces, its Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said yesterday.

Paris is still on its highest level of alert after a string of Islamist attacks over the last three years.

"Since Jan 1, we have foiled two planned attacks which had not been totally finalised but a number of people were in the process of trying to execute them," Mr Collomb said on Europe 1 radio.

One of them was planned against a "big sports team" where "young people were targeted", and the other the armed forces.

He said police had followed a number of suspected militants and arrested them.

"That is how we were able to thwart" these plots, Mr Collomb said, but declined to give further details as to the location of those held or the planned targets.

According to official figures, 20 attacks were foiled in France last year.

In November 2015, Paris was hit by a wave of terror attacks claimed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) - on the Bataclan concert hall, Paris bars and the Stade de France football stadium - that left about 130 people dead.

In January that year, two French militants who had sworn allegiance to Al-Qaeda killed 12 people in the Paris office of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

Three people were killed in two attacks in France last year claimed by ISIS - one in April on the Champs-Elysees and another in October at a railway station in the city of Marseille.

Last November, anti-terrorist police arrested 10 people in France and Switzerland over "disturbing remarks" they exchanged on the encrypted messaging app Telegram.