French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said on Thursday France faces an unprecedented terror threat as security services have thwarted a number of plots in recent months, including the detention of a heavily armed man on Sunday suspected of planning attacks on churches.
“The threat has never been as great. We’ve never faced this kind of terror in our history,” Valls said on French radio station France Inter. He said 1,573 people in France have been identified as having suspected links to terror networks.
French officials said that five attacks—not including Sunday’s alleged plot—have been prevented since August 2013. Asked in the radio interview how many plots had been foiled since January this year, Mr. Valls had initially incorrectly said five including Sunday’s.
The latest plot was undone fortuitously on Sunday when police attending to a man with gunshot wounds discovered an arsenal of weapons in his car and home. Police also found evidence the man, a 24 year-old Algerian studying in Paris, was under instruction from another individual in Syria to attack churches in the southern suburb of Villejuif, prosecutors said. The man was also linked to the shooting of Aurélie Châtelain, whose body was found Sunday in a parked car in Villejuif.