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Three men arrested in connection with a suspected bomb factory near Paris were preparing terror attacks, police believe.

The trio were detained after ingredients for an explosive often used by Islamic State were discovered at an unoccupied apartment in the suburb of Villejuif.

Gas canisters and electrical wiring were also discovered during the raid.

France’s interior minister, Gerard Collomb, has said the suspects had made calls to Syria and were “involved in terrorism”.

The men have denied they were preparing terror attacks – and instead claim they were actually preparing to rob banks by blowing up cash machines.

French Police outside the flat where they found explosives and bomb components in an apartment, in Villejuif, in Paris

Image: The raid uncovered ingredients for TATP, gas canisters and electrical wiring

According to Le Parisien, police were tipped off by a plumber who was at the apartment to fix a leak.

The unnamed man noticed chemicals on a balcony of the flat as well as a soldering iron and hot plate through the window.

It is reported two of the suspects are French nationals of North African origin who were not previously known to police.

Questions have been raised over whether they were linked to the jihadist cell responsible for the terror attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils that killed 15 people.

According to Mr Collomb, some of the men suspected of the Spanish atrocities had visited Spain a week before their deadly rampage – purchasing a camera and “spending a long time in front of the Eiffel Tower”.

France has suffered more than other European countries from Islamic extremist attacks in the last two years.

In November 2015, 130 people were killed by IS gunmen in simultaneous raids on bars, the national stadium and the Bataclan concert hall in Paris.

In July 2016, a truck attack in Nice killed 86 people, while a series of smaller assaults have targeted security forces.

World News – Breaking international news and headlines | Sky News

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