Officers in the GIPN (French national police intervention groups) leave a building after a raid as part of an anti-terrorist operation, in October 2012, in Cannes. Photo: Jean-Christophe Magnenet /AFP
French anti-terrorism police believe they have foiled a plot to attack the French Riviera, Le Figaro newspaper reported on Wednesday. The planned attack, described by sources as "imminent", was reportedly being masterminded by a jihadist who had returned from Syria.
Quoting sources close to the investigation, Le Figaro newspaper claimed on Wednesday that French police believe thay have thwarted a planned terrorist attack on the Côte d'Azur, in the south of France.
According to the newspaper's sources police became convinced they unearthed a plan to plant a bomb on the Riviera after a raid on a flat in the town of Mandelieu-La-Napoule, near Cannes led to the discovery of 900 grams of explosives.
The apartment was the 'drop-off point' of a 23-year-old man arrested a few days earlier who had links with a suspected extremist cell based in Cannes Torcy, sources told Le Figaro.
Police sources told Le Figaro that the explosive discovered was TATP, which can be manufactured at home and has been used in previous terror attacks, notably the Marrakech bombings in 2011.
The explosive was divided into three cans, one of which was wrapped in screws and nails, fixed on with tape, the source adds.
A gun and computer equipment were also seized in the raid on the home.
The suspected plotter had apparently escaped police clutches when in September 2012 ant-terrorist units carried out a series of raids aimed at dismantling the Cannes-Torcy terror cell.
At the time France’s top public prosecutor Francois Molins described the group as the most dangerous terror treat to France since the 1990s when the country was rocked by a series of attacks.
The French government has previously expressed concerns about the dangers posed by jihadists returning to France after fighting a holy war in Syria.
Earlier this week The Local reported how terrorist groups linked to Al Qaeda had called for attacks on French soil in revenge for French military intervention in Mali and the Central African Republic.