French authorities say two people have been detained in the ongoing investigation into serial murders near Paris, according to the daily Le Parisien.
The French government has put on a show of force since declaring early this month that a single suspect using the same handgun was believed to have killed four people in the Paris suburbs since November. The most recent victim, a 47-year-old mother identified Malika, was shot dead at her home on April 5.
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The first suspect was arrested in Paris at 3 pm local time and another suspect, described as 33 and “a very serious suspect,” was arrested 30 minutes earlier in the Essonne area, where the murders occurred, according to Le Parisien, which said both suspects had been placed under police observation and that search warrants had been executed.
The motorcycle observed at the scene of several of the murders has been located by police, the newspaper said.
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According to Reuters, police had searched the home of the 33-year-old suspect. The case had briefly raised President Nicolas Sarkozy’s standing in opinion polls ahead of presidential elections starting this month that he is not expected to survive.
The case coincided the killing spree in Toulouse and Montauban by Mohamed Merah, an Islamist radical believed to have shot 11 people, killing seven, including four children, in March.