French Interior Minister Gérard Collomb recently revealed that authorities in France have already prevented two separate planned terrorist attacks in the country since the start of the year, and several mosques have been shut down for preaching radical ideas.
In an interview with Europe 1 radio on Sunday, Collomb said the attacks that were prevented had been aimed at military and sports facilities.
According to Le Parisien and AFP, citing inside sources, the first suspect who planned an attack on the sports facility was a convert with intentions on eventually making his way into Syria.
Additional details on the planned attack, including information on the suspect and the name or location of the intended sports facility, were not given.
The second planned attack involved a 33-year-old suspect from Nimes who intended on attacking soldiers taking part in Opération Sentinelle, a military operation launched in January 2015 to guard sensitive targets from terrorist attacks.
According to the General Directorate for Internal Security (DGIS), the man had pledged allegiance to Islamic State, or ISIS, in a video authorities had discovered. Explosive materials were also found when the suspect’s home was searched.
Although both of the suspects behind these terrorist attacks were arrested, Collomb stresses that terrorist threats still exist and will continue to be a cause for concern for France and other nations across Europe in the years to come.
While France has relatively strict gun laws, extremist terrorists have resorted to using vehicles and creating makeshift bombs in order to carry out their attacks on the public.
For nearly two years, France was under a state of emergency following the November 2015 Paris attacks that killed 130 people.
French President Emmanuel Macron lifted the state of emergency in November of last year.
However, a controversial new counter-terrorism law was then put in place instead, which gave security services increased power to search and detain suspects at their homes, as well as shut down places of worship.
The controversial policy is what was able to thwart the two planned attacks this year.
Collomb said that three mosques had been closed on Sunday in Aix-en-Provence, Sartrouville and Marseille, for preaching radical ideas.
Since January 2015, 241 people have been killed in various terrorist attacks in France after the Charlie Hebdo magazine shooting. Last year, three people were killed in two attacks claimed by ISIS in France. According to figures provided by the interior ministry in January, 20 attacks were also thwarted that year.