A French resident flagged by the country’s counter-terrorism agency for expressing radical Islamic views has been arrested for allegedly threatening a 9/11-style plane hijacking and attack.
The man, who is in his 20s, was taken into custody on Sept. 26. His plan was in the early stages, but authorities moved in because he started searching for weapons, a French security official said Friday.
“An individual who was inspired by the Sept. 11, 2001 attack and planes that destroyed the towers of the World Trade Center was detained by our services,” Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said on France-2 television Thursday night.
Castaner added that the man’s arrest marked the 60th time that French authorities have thwarted a potential attack since 2013.
Investigators are now looking into whether he might have had accomplices.
Prior to his arrest, France’s General Directorate for Internal Security had flagged the man for expressing Islamic radical views, the security official told the Associated Press. But it is not known whether he had expressed allegiance to any extremist group.
The announcement of the arrest comes as the French security officials are under criticism following a deadly attack inside Paris police headquarters.
A long-time police administrator stabbed four colleagues to death on Oct. 3 in an incident prosecutors consider a possible terrorist attack. The attacker was killed by police.
He had become radicalized, and France’s counterterrorism prosecutor said he had likely been in contact with members of an ultra-conservative Islamic movement.
France also remains on alert after a string of deadly Islamic State attacks in 2015 and 2016 that heightened the country’s security posture at home and abroad.
The Associated Press contributed to this report