Repairman's tip leads to explosives lab probe outside Paris

AP News
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Posted: Sep 06, 2017 12:30 PM
Repairman's tip leads to explosives lab probe outside Paris

VILLEJUIF, France (AP) — A tip from a handyman led police to a possible explosives laboratory south of Paris and the detentions of two people Wednesday, French authorities said.

A workman doing a job in a building in Villejuif informed authorities after noticing suspicious products in an apartment, Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said in a statement.

Police found substances that "may be used to make explosives" in the unit, Collomb said, praising the "civic reflex" of the worker.

The minister said two people have been detained.

The Paris prosecutor's office said its counter-terrorism section has opened an investigation under potential charges of "criminal terrorist association" and "possession, transportation and production of explosive substances in relation with a terrorist action by an organized gang."

A bomb-disposal operation was carried out in the apartment, three police officials with knowledge of the investigation said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation.

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Associated Press reporters in Villejuif saw forensic officers moving around in white uniforms and police vans blocking a large street in the city, which is located just 3 kilometers (less than two miles) south of Paris.

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Philippe Sotto reported from Paris. Lori Hinnant contributed to the report