PARIS (Reuters) – French police made 23 arrests and seized assault rifles and drugs in a nationwide overnight sweep on suspected Islamist militants following Friday’s attacks, the government said.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said 168 homes were raided in France’s major cities and elsewhere, and 104 people had been put under house arrest in the last 48 hours.
Police seized 31 firearms as well as computer hard drives and telephones, and illegal drugs were found in 18 of the raids, Cazeneuve told journalists.
One Islamist militant suspected of arms and drugs dealing was found to have Kalashnikov assault rifles, automatic handguns and bullet proof vests.
In one raid on the house of the parents of a suspect, police found military fatigues and a rocket launcher in addition to more bullet proof vests and automatic handguns.
“We know that more attacks are being prepared, not just against France but also against other European countries,” Prime Minister Manuel Valls said on RTL radio.
Cazeneuve said police were making rapid progress in their investigation into a wave of shootings and suicide bombings in Paris which left 129 people dead.
“We are making use of the legal framework of the state of emergency to question people who are part of the radical jihadist movement … and all those who advocate hate of the republic,” Valls said.
(Reporting by Geert De Clercq, Nicolas Bertin, Myriam Rivet and Leigh Thomas; editing by Andrew Callus and Giles Elgood)