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Islamists to be charged over failed Paris apartment attack

3 men face indictments for attempted murder and belonging to a terror group over alleged attempt to blow up residential building

Illustrative: Police cordon off a street in Villejuif, a suburb of Paris, on September 6, 2017, as two men were arrested after the discovery of explosives and bomb components at an apartment. (AFP/Christophe Simon)
Illustrative: Police cordon off a street in Villejuif, a suburb of Paris, on September 6, 2017, as two men were arrested after the discovery of explosives and bomb components at an apartment. (AFP/Christophe Simon)

PARIS — Three men, including two suspected Islamic extremists, are to be charged over an attempted attack on a Parisian apartment bloc in a wealthy district of the French capital last weekend, a prosecutor said on Friday.

Top anti-terror prosecutor Francois Molins said the reason the apartment in the western 16th district of Paris had been targeted remains unclear, while no evidence had been found so far linking the suspects to the Islamic State terror group.

A major explosion was averted on Saturday morning when a resident discovered four gas cylinders and “large quantities” of petrol that had been poured in the hallway of the building at 4:30 a.m. local time.

“The power of the blast could have caused major damage,” Molins told a press conference in his first comments on the case.

Using DNA found at the scene, including on a mobile phone which was meant to have served as a detonator, police arrested six people.

Three have since been released. The other three are to be charged with attempted murder and belonging to a terror group, including two who had been previously flagged by security officials as suspected Islamic extremists.

A French police officer cordons off the access to Marseille’s main train station Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017 in Marseille, southern France. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

Also last weekend, a 29-year-old Tunisian man stabbed two cousins to death at the main train station in the southern port of Marseille before being gunned down by soldiers patrolling there.

Five people arrested afterwards were released by police on Friday without charge.

IS claimed the attack but French investigators have so far found no link between the killer and the jihadist group which has faced a series of battlefield defeats in Syria and Iraq.

France has faced a string of jihadist attacks since 2015 which have left more than 200 people dead.

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