French police have arrested a man found in possession of handguns and Kalashnikov assault rifles who is suspected of planning terror attacks on churches in France.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve announced on Wednesday that the 24-year-old suspect, an IT student who is also an Algerian national, was arrested on Sunday.
He is also suspected of killing Aurélie Châtelain, a 32-year-old fitness instructor, on Sunday in the Villejuif suburb of Paris, Cazeneuve said.
The man was arrested after he called emergency services having apparently shot himself in the leg by accident, a police source told Reuters.
When paramedics arrived they saw that it was a gunshot wound and called the police, who followed a blood trail to a nearby car that contained an “arsenal of weapons”.
In an eerie reminder of January’s Charlie Hebdo attacks, in which 17 people were killed by Islamist gunmen, the haul included a number of handguns, a Kalashnikov assault rifle and bullet proof vests. A search of the man’s apartment later uncovered three more Kalashnikov rifles.
“Documents were also found that establish without any ambiguity that this individual was planning an attack on one or two churches,” Cazeneuve said .
According to RTL radio, police also discovered flashing blue lights of the type that fix magnetically to police car roofs, as well as orange “Police” armbands that are used by French plainclothes officers.
Cazeneuve added that the man, who has not been named, was known to intelligence services for wanting to fight with jihadists in Syria.