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Paris ‘Bomb Factory’ Suspects Believed To Have Links To Syria

French authorities investigating a suspected bomb factory near Paris believe three suspects were preparing attacks and had made calls to Syria, a minister said Thursday.

Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said the suspects were possibly planning to attack a bank and had made phone calls to unidentified contacts in Syria.

“Those under investigation spoke of wanting to blow up a bank with the TATP but the way we see it is they have links with terrorism, and this is the channel of investigation,” Collomb told public radio station Franceinfo.

TATP, a peroxide-based explosive employed by Islamic extremists, has been used in several attacks in Western Europe in recent years, including Manchester in May, Brussels in 2016 and Paris in 2015.

Two men were held Wednesday and the third man was detained Thursday, according to the Paris prosecutor’s office, which provided no further information.

Meanwhile, two French officials said authorities have found more explosive components in a garage rented by one of the three suspects.

A police source confirmed the new discovery in Thiais, a suburban city close to the Villejuif apartment where TATP was found Wednesday thanks to a tip from a plumber.

The Paris daily Le Parisien reported that the plumber was working on a stubborn leak, according to Agence France-Presse.

He was outside the building when he saw chemicals on a balcony of the apartment, and noticed a soldering iron and a hot plate through the window, the paper reported, quoting a source close to the investigation.

A counterterrorism probe was opened under potential charges of “criminal terrorist association” and production, possession and transportation of explosive substances “in relation with a terrorist action by an organized gang.”

The arrests raised questions about whether the suspects might be linked to a jihadist cell in Spain that carried out two vehicular attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils last month, AFP reported.

“It is possible there were links, but honestly I don’t know,” Collomb said.

France has been under a state of emergency since ISIS jihadists launched simultaneous raids on bars, the national stadium and the Bataclan concert hall in Paris in November 2015, leaving 130 people dead.

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