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France arrests 6 suspected terrorists near Paris

Anti-terror police arrested six "radical Islamists" who are suspected of planning terrorist attacks in France.

France terrorism attack drillEnlarge
Rescue workers practice responding to a terrorist attack during a drill on June 13, 2013, in Lyon. (Philippe Desmazes/AFP/Getty Images)

French police arrested six terror suspects near Paris in what one prosecutor claims represents the largest threat to the nation since the Armed Islamic Group of Algeria bombings of the 1990s.

France has been on alert since it sent troops to Mali in January to fight Islamist insurgents who had taken control of Timbuktu and other parts of the former French colony.

The unidentified suspects, aged 22 to 38, had been arrested on Monday, and under French anti-terrorism law the can be detained without the declaration of a formal investigation for 96 hours.

"They were planning to commit terrorist acts targeting well-known figures in France," an unnamed source told Agence France Press news agency.

All six suspects had been known to the police prior to their arrest. One suspect has been linked to an anti-terrorism investigation. Four of the suspects are French nationals, another is from Benin, and another from the Comoros islands.

In May, Interior Minister Manuel Valls said France was “facing a global terrorist threat” that was “elevated and affects the entire planet.”