France says terror plot against military bases foiled

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PARIS (AP) -- French authorities have foiled a plot by four would-be extremists to attack military bases, the interior minister said Wednesday.

The suspects, aged between 16 and 23, were arrested Monday at four separate locations around France, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said.

Cazeneuve said the group's leader had been under surveillance after his online activities raised investigators' suspicions. He had also triggered alarms by signaling his desire to travel to Syria, Cazeneuve said. One of the suspects was a former member of the French navy, Cazeneuve said.

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France says terror plot against military bases foiled
Police officers investigate at a plant where an attack took place, Friday, June 26, 2015 in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, southeast of Lyon, France. A man with suspected ties to French Islamic radicals rammed a car Friday into an American gas factory in southeastern France, triggering an explosion that injured two people, officials said. The severed head of a local businessman was left hanging at the factory's entrance, along with banners with Arabic inscriptions, they said. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)
French security stand next to the enclosed area where a decapitated body was found near the Air Products company in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, near Lyon, central eastern France, on June 26, 2015. An attacker carrying an Islamist flag killed one person and injured several others at a gas factory in eastern France, according to a legal source. The suspected attacker entered the factory and set off several small explosive devices, the source said. AFP PHOTO/PHILIPPE DESMAZE (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images)
French security and emergency services gather at the entrance of the Air Products company in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, near Lyon, central eastern France, on June 26, 2015. An attacker carrying an Islamist flag killed one person and injured several others at a gas factory in eastern France, according to a legal source. The suspected attacker entered the factory and set off several small explosive devices, the source said. A decapitated body was found nearby the factory, another source said. AFP PHOTO/PHILIPPE DESMAZES (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images)
French President Francois Hollande delivers a statement, following an emergency security meeting at the Elysee palace on June 26, 2015 in Paris, after an attack defined as 'Islamist terrorism' by the French prime minister hit a factory earlier in the day in the Rhone-Alpes region. Hollande announced he was raising the security level to 'attack' -- the highest possible -- in the region in which a gas factory was assaulted earlier on June 26. AFP PHOTO / LOIC VENANCE (Photo credit should read LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images)
Police officer block the area where an attack took place, Friday, June 26, 2015 in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, southeast of Lyon, France. An attacker with suspected ties to French Islamic radicals rammed a car into a gas factory Friday in southeastern France, and a severed head was staked on a post at the entrance, officials said. France immediately opened a terrorism investigation. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)
A photo taken on June 26, 2015 shows the Air Products gas factory in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, near Lyon, central eastern France, after a suspected Islamist assault in which a decapitated head was pinned to the gates. An attacker carrying an Islamist flag killed one person and injured several others at a gas factory in eastern France, according to a legal source. The suspected attacker entered the factory and set off several small explosive devices, the source said. AFP PHOTO / JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK (Photo credit should read JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK/AFP/Getty Images)
Investigating police officers work outside the plant where an attack took place, Friday, June 26, 2015 in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, southeast of Lyon, France. French authorities say one person has been beheaded in an attack and explosion at a gas factory in the southeastern part of the country. Officials say banners with Arabic writing were found near the body. Authorities have opened a terrorism investigation. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)
French security stand next to the enclosed area where a decapitated body was found near the Air Products company in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, near Lyon, central eastern France, on June 26, 2015. An attacker carrying an Islamist flag killed one person and injured several others at a gas factory in eastern France, according to a legal source. The suspected attacker entered the factory and set off several small explosive devices, the source said. AFP PHOTO/PHILIPPE DESMAZE (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images)
Riot police officers block the area where an attack took place, Friday, June 26, 2015 in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, southeast of Lyon, France. A man with suspected ties to French Islamic radicals rammed a car Friday into an American gas factory in southeastern France, triggering an explosion that injured two people, officials said. The severed head of a local businessman was left hanging at the factory's entrance, along with banners with Arabic inscriptions, they said. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)
A French police officer stands guard at the entrance of a street where criminal investigation police are carrying out a search at the home of a suspect in a neighborhood of Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, near Lyon, central eastern France, on June 26, 2015, after a suspected Islamist assault on the nearby Air Products gas factory in which a decapitated head was pinned to the gates. At least one suspected Islamist launched a daylight raid on a gas factory in eastern France Friday, pinning a decapitated head to the gates and injuring at least two others with explosive devices. AFP PHOTO / JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK (Photo credit should read JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK/AFP/Getty Images)
Special forces of France's Research and Intervention Brigades (BRI) arrive at the building housing the apartment of a man suspected of carrying out an attack in Saint-Priest near Lyon on June 26, 2015. A 35-year-old man arrested in connection with the attack on the Air Products gas factory was investigated nine years ago for radicalisation and has links to the Salafist movement, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said. He identified the suspect as Yacine Salhi, 35, who was known to have lived around Lyon, France's second largest city, near the site of the attack. AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE DESMAZES (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images)
Special forces of France's Research and Intervention Brigades (BRI) escort an unidentified woman as they leave the building housing the apartment of a man suspected of carrying out an attack in Saint-Priest near Lyon on June 26, 2015. A 35-year-old man arrested in connection with the attack on the Air Products gas factory was investigated nine years ago for radicalisation and has links to the Salafist movement, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said. He identified the suspect as Yacine Salhi, 35, who was known to have lived around Lyon, France's second largest city, near the site of the attack. AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE DESMAZES (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images)
French President Francois Hollande delivers a statement, following an emergency security meeting at the Elysee palace on June 26, 2015 in Paris, after an attack defined as 'Islamist terrorism' by the French prime minister hit a factory earlier in the day in the Rhone-Alpes region. Hollande announced he was raising the security level to 'attack' -- the highest possible -- in the region in which a gas factory was assaulted earlier on June 26. AFP PHOTO / LOIC VENANCE (Photo credit should read LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images)
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve (C) gives a press conference near the entrance of the Air Products gas factory in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier near Lyon, southeastern France, on June 26, 2015 after an attacker carrying an Islamist flag killed one person and injured several others at the factory. The suspect arrested in connection with the attack on a French gas factory was probed nine years ago for radicalisation and has links to the Salafist movement, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said. AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE DESMAZES (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images)
Police officers guard the road leading to a plant where an attack took place in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, southeast of Lyon, France, Friday, June 26, 2015. A man with suspected ties to French Islamic radicals rammed a car Friday into an American gas factory in southeastern France, triggering an explosion that caused injuries, officials said. The severed head of a local businessman was left hanging at the factory's entrance, along with banners with Arabic inscriptions, they said. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
French police secure the entrance of the Air Products company in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, near Lyon, central eastern France, on June 26, 2015. An attacker carrying an Islamist flag killed one person and injured several others at a gas factory in eastern France, according to a legal source. The suspected attacker entered the factory and set off several small explosive devices, the source said. A decapitated body was found nearby the factory, another source said. AFP PHOTO/PHILIPPE DESMAZE (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images)
French police and firefighters gather at the entrance of the Air Products company in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, near Lyon, central eastern France, on June 26, 2015. An attacker carrying an Islamist flag killed one person and injured several others at a gas factory in eastern France, according to a legal source. The suspected attacker entered the factory and set off several small explosive devices, the source said. A decapitated body was found nearby the factory, another source said. AFP PHOTO/PHILIPPE DESMAZES (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images)
French police and firefighters secure the entrance of the Air Products company in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, near Lyon, eastern France, on June 26, 2015. An attacker carrying an Islamist flag killed one person and injured several others at a gas factory in eastern France, according to a legal source. The suspected attacker entered the factory and set off several small explosive devices, the source said. A decapitated body was found nearby the factory, another source said. AFP PHOTO/PHILIPPE DESMAZE (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images)
Police officers investigate at a plant where an attack took place, Friday, June 26, 2015 in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, southeast of Lyon, France. A man with suspected ties to French Islamic radicals rammed a car Friday into an American gas factory in southeastern France, triggering an explosion that injured two people, officials said. The severed head of a local businessman was left hanging at the factory's entrance, along with banners with Arabic inscriptions, they said. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)
French security stand outside the enclosed area (R) where a decapitated body was found, near the Air Products company in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, near Lyon, central eastern France, on June 26, 2015. An attacker carrying an Islamist flag killed one person and injured several others at a gas factory in eastern France, according to a legal source. The suspected attacker entered the factory and set off several small explosive devices, the source said. AFP PHOTO/PHILIPPE DESMAZES (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images)
French police secure the entrance of the Air Products company in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, near Lyon, central eastern France, on June 26, 2015. An attacker carrying an Islamist flag killed one person and injured several others at a gas factory in eastern France, according to a legal source. The suspected attacker entered the factory and set off several small explosive devices, the source said. A decapitated body was found nearby the factory, another source said. AFP PHOTO/PHILIPPE DESMAZE (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images)
French police secure the entrance of the Air Products company in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, near Lyon, central eastern France, on June 26, 2015. An attacker carrying an Islamist flag killed one person and injured several others at a gas factory in eastern France, according to a legal source. The suspected attacker entered the factory and set off several small explosive devices, the source said. A decapitated body was found nearby the factory, another source said. AFP PHOTO/PHILIPPE DESMAZE (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images)
French police secure the entrance of the Air Products company in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, near Lyon, central eastern France, on June 26, 2015. An attacker carrying an Islamist flag killed one person and injured several others at a gas factory in eastern France, according to a legal source. The suspected attacker entered the factory and set off several small explosive devices, the source said. A decapitated body was found nearby the factory, another source said. AFP PHOTO/PHILIPPE DESMAZE (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images)
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The minister said authorities break up similar plots every week in France, where more than 300 people have been implicated in jihadi activities since 2012.

There are no known links between the suspects arrested Monday and a double blast Tuesday at a petrochemical plant in southern France, Cazeneuve said.

A total of 1,850 French citizens or permanent residents are implicated in jihadi networks, and 500 are believed to be currently in Syria or Iraq, Cazeneuve said.

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