PARIS: A man arrested near Paris suspected of plotting an attack on France was convicted in Belgium in July along with Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the ringleader of the November 13 attacks on the French capital, police sources said Friday.
The man, identified as Reda K, was found guilty in absentia in Brussels of being part of a terrorist network planning to go to Syria, the sources said.
French national Reda K was arrested in Argenteuil, northwest of Paris, late on Thursday night with a small quantity of explosives.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said he was suspected of “being involved in the plan at a high level.”
“He belongs to a terrorist network that sought to strike our country,” the interior minister said.
However, while Cazeneuve hailed a “major arrest”, he said there was “no tangible evidence linking the plot to either the attacks in Paris or Brussels”.
The minister added that the suspect had been under surveillance “for several weeks” and that the arrest was also the result of “close and constant cooperation between European services”.
The arrest comes two days after 31 people were killed in suicide bombings at Brussels airport and on the city’s metro, putting security services across Europe on high alert.