An abandoned car filled with 7 gas cylinders that was found parked near Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Sunday may have been left there as part of an Islamic terror attack “dry run,” officials said. Documents with ‘Arabic writing’ were found inside the car.
The car’s owner, who is on a French intelligence service watch list of people suspected of religious radicalization, was in custody, Sky News reported. At least one other person had also been detained in the investigation. “We think he may have been trying to carry out a test-run,” a police official told AFP.
French police have arrested a second couple in connection with a car found carrying seven gas cylinders near Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris, a judicial official said on Thursday. A first couple, aged 34 and 29, were arrested on a motorway on Tuesday in southern France also in connection with the incident on Saturday and remain in custody.
There were seven gas cylinders inside the car, with one empty cylinder in the front passenger seat and six others in the car’s trunk, authorities said. No detonating device was present.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said it still was not clear why the car was abandoned or what the intentions were of those under arrest.
France is on alert after a deadly string of Islamic State attacks and threats against landmarks. News of the gas canisters’ near Notre Dame broke hours before the release of a government-commissioned report on how the attacks have impacted France’s lucrative tourism industry.
Algeria-linked extremists used gas canisters filled with nails during attacks on Paris.