April 26, 2015 / 6:42 PM / 4 years ago

Three suspects held in French investigation into failed church attack

French soldiers patrol outside the Notre Dame Cathedral as part of the "Vigipirate" security plan in Paris, April 22, 2015. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

PARIS (Reuters) - French police were holding three people for questioning on suspicion they may be accomplices of an Algerian man suspected of planning to attack at least one French church, several French media said on Sunday.

The Paris prosecutor’s office declined to comment.

French magistrates have already placed the 24-year-old Algerian, who is suspected of murdering a woman and planning a gun attack on churchgoers in a Paris suburb, under formal investigation on Friday.

Le Figaro.fr, citing a source close to the matter, said the three men arrested over the weekend were questioned on Sunday by the anti-terrorism section of the Paris police. The DNA of two of them had been found in the Algerian suspect’s apartment.

The Paris chief prosecutor said earlier this week a search of the Algerian suspect’s phones and laptops showed he was in touch with another person, possibly in Syria, who had asked him to target a church. Authorities have said they believe one or more attacks were imminent.

France remains on high alert three months after Islamists killed 17 people in attacks on the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, which had mocked Islam and other religions, and on a Jewish food store. Authorities say five attacks have been foiled since then.

Reporting by Dominique Vidalon, Sophie Louet; Editing by Larry King

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