French police arrested an armed man and two others at the Austerlitz train station in Paris this week, with all three coming from migrant backgrounds.
The police operation took place on Tuesday at around 4 pm and saw officers from the specialist anti-gang Research and Intervention Brigade (BRI) secure the area after railway police had arrested a man armed with a pistol around an hour before, Le Parisien reports.
At first, police feared the armed man may have been plotting a terrorist attack as two other men attempted to flee from the police and hide in the station toilets.
“Given the situation and the profile of the type arrested, we decided to play it with caution,” a source close to the investigation told Le Parisien.
The source added that investigators were still looking into potential links between the armed man and the other two saying that it was a possibility they merely hid from police for other reasons.
French police seek three men suspected of plotting an Islamic State inspired attack on a Paris train station https://t.co/n08NTNg7E2
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 9, 2017
The three men, aged 16, 17, and 22 years old, were taken into custody and were all from North African migrant backgrounds, according to the source, who said they came from Morocco or Algeria originally and may be illegal immigrants. One of the three is said to be well-known to police.
France has seen a number of terror attacks in recent years, particularly in Paris where the Gare du Nord train station was the target of a plot by Islamic State sympathisers in May 2017.
Last year, French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner announced that five major terror attacks had been foiled by police, including one linked to the government of Iran.
Castaner noted at the time that the prospect of returning Islamic State jihadists kept the terror alert level high saying, “Some must be followed as a priority: those with psychological vulnerabilities, those who could have firearms, the ‘ghosts’ of Iraq or Syria – which represents 261 adults identified in France.”
The country is also expecting more Islamic radicals on the streets of the country by the end of this year as 450 are expected to be released from French prisons.