In France there were detained five Russians who are charged with preparing a terrorist attack, the Prosecutor's Office in France announces. According to Le Monde, referring to Yvon Calvet, the prosecutor of Bezier, the detention took place on Tuesday night in Beziers, Montpellier, Sete and Saint-Jean-de-Vedas. According to BFMTV, the age of the detainees is from 24 to 37. Le Parisien says the detainees are natives of Chechnya.
The Chechens detained in the south of France do not feature on any terror watch list, the prosecutor says. "So far, we are at the initial stage of the investigation. There is no information about planned attacks," the prosecutor Yvon Calvet says. However, he said that there was "no religious undertone." The Prosecutor's Office notes that there is no certainty that these people were plotting attacks.
During the search, there was found a cache of explosives. The investigation has been just begun, there may be arrested other suspects, the prosecutor said. According to the newspaper Le Parisien, it is referred to acetone peroxide. The nickname of the main suspect is Dany the Chechen.
Le Figaro writes that those arrested were known to police for shoplifting, robbery and other illegal acts.
The Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed the arrest of the Russians in France. "Our diplomatic institutions in France – Embassy in Paris and Consulate General in Marseille – have inquired necessary information of the French authorities. It was confirmed that all five detainees are citizens of Russia. More information will be provided later," the ministry said. Also there was announced the name of one of the arrested. The ministry said in its statement that one of the men detained, Zelimkhan Ismailov, had been accused of "affiliating with lawbreakers with the aims of preparing a terrorist act."
Currently the detainees are in custody in Beziers, they are being interrogated.