France steps up security around election as terror attack fears rise

Security has been stepped up around political rallies and meetings in France amid heightened fears of a terror attack with just four days of campaigning until the first round of the fiercely contested presidential election.

The five main candidates have vowed to continue campaigning as it emerged that France’s police and intelligence agencies spent several weeks tracking the two men arrested on Tuesday and suspected of plotting an “imminent and violent attack” in the run-up to Sunday’s vote.

Officials say they are still investigating the men’s possible targets, but claim they were seeking to “have an impact in this [electoral] period” and had amassed an arsenal of weapons and bomb-making equipment, including 3kg of homemade explosive found in the flat where they were staying.

It was reported on Wednesday that Paris’ anti-terror court had opened a preliminary investigation into suspect Mahiedine Merabet, 29, on 5 April, after receiving a tip-off from British intelligence that he had tried to make contact with Islamic State (Isis) in order to send them a video expressing his support for the terrorist group.

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Source: The Guardian.