Explosives found in apartment thought to have been rented by suspect in Argenteuil, France, mayor says
Suspect Reda Kriket was previously convicted of being part of a jihadist network
He was found guilty along with Abdelhamid Abaaoud, ringleader of the Paris terror attacks
A man arrested this week by French police for allegedly plotting an attack on the country has been linked by authorities in Belgium to the suspected ringleader of last year’s Paris terror attacks, according to Belgian court documents.
Reda Kriket, 34, was previously found guilty in absentia by a Belgian court and sentenced to 10 years in prison for being part of a jihadist network, the documents state.
Also convicted in that July 2015 decision was Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the alleged ringleader of the November terror attacks in Paris that killed more than 130 people. Abaaoud was killed in a police raid on a Paris-area apartment days after the Paris attacks.
Kriket was arrested Thursday in Boulogne-Billancourt, just west of Paris, and that led to a police raid that night on an apartment in Argenteuil, also near the French capital, authorities said.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the terror plot thwarted Thursday was in an “advanced stage” of planning. The arrest was the result of a detailed investigation that took place over several weeks, he said during a televised address.
French law enforcement officers seized 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) of the explosive TATP and a Kalashnikov rifle during Thursday night’s raid in Argenteuil, according to a source briefed on the investigation.
Besides explosives, Argenteuil Mayor Georges Mothron said, investigators found materials to make more explosives.
Kriket is believed to have rented the Argenteuil apartment, Mothron said.
Many Europeans are on guard after this week’s terror attacks in Belgium that killed 31 people and injured about 300.
Investigators are aware of multiple additional ISIS plots in Europe possibly linked to the Paris and Brussels networks that are in various stages of planning.
A combination of electronic intercepts, human sources and database tracking indicates several possible targets had been picked out by ISIS operatives over the past few months since the Paris attacks, U.S. counterterrorism officials said.
Since the start of the year, French authorities have arrested 75 people as part of the fight against terrorism. Those arrests have led to 37 people being placed under formal investigation and to 28 others being incarcerated, Cazeneuve said.
CNN’s Dana Ford, Pierre Meilhan, Pamela Brown, Paul Cruickshank and Jason Hanna contributed to this report.