French police seize ‘radicalised ex-soldier’ and weapons near military base

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A “radicalised” former solider known to authorities has been arrested near a French military base in Normandy, and weapons found nearby. The arrest of the unnamed 34-year old suspect comes two days before the second round runoff in France’s presidential elections between centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-Right Marine Le Pen.

Anti-terror prosecutors have been informed, the sources told French media and agencies.

The man, known to be “radicalised” and on France’s “S” list of individuals who could pose a security threat, was arrested late Thursday near a military base in Evreux, in the Eure, northwestern France. Around midnight, a “suspicious car was discovered near the Evreux 105 airbase in Normandy which turned out to belong to a radicalised man,” the source told AFP.

According to Le Figaro, he is a former soldier who took part in “external operations” in combat zones abroad. Weapons were found in a thicket near the airbase, including a pump action shotgun and two revolvers, as well as ammunition, a source close to the inquiry told AFP. A Koran and a gun cartridge were found at his home.

Security and terrorism were key flash points during an angry televised debate between the two French presidential finalists on Wednesday. Accusing her rival of complacency in the fight against terror, Ms Le Pen said: “You have no plan (on security) but you are indulgent with Islamist fundamentalism,” she said. “They control you.”

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