French police officers say they foiled a terror plot scheduled for the eve of the upcoming French presidential election.
Two men, aged 23 and 29, were arrested in Marseilles on April 18 in possession of a machine gun, two handguns and an Islamic-State flag. Explosives were also found during a search of a rented apartment.
The men are “suspected of wanting to imminently commit a violent act on the eve of the French presidential election,” according to French Interior Minister Matthias Fekl.
He said 50,000 soldiers, gendarmes and police would be deployed across the 67,000 polling stations to guard each stage of the election and that the presidential campaigns of the various contenders had been informed of the terrorist threat.
“Everything has been put in place to ensure the security of this big event for our democracy and our republic. The security forces are mobilised everywhere across France to ensure the security of French people and to ensure the presidential campaign goes smoothly,” he said.
Authorities had been looking for the suspects for two weeks.
The first round of the French elections will be held on April 23. Should no candidate win over 50% of the vote, a run-off election between the top two candidates will be held on May 7.