PARIS, March 30 (UPI) — The Frenchman arrested last week and accused of plotting an imminent terrorist attack had firearms and explosives inside his apartment on an “unprecedented scale,” prosecutors said Wednesday.
Reda Kriket faces numerous criminal charges for planning what authorities said was ultimately a foiled terrorist attack, that was most likely intended to be carried out somewhere in France.
After his arrest, police searched Kriket’s apartment in the Paris suburb of Argenteuil. Investigators said he rented the unit and turned it into a veritable munitions factory.
“Everything suggests that the discovery of this cache avoided a act of extreme violence by a terrorist network,” prosecutor Francois Molins said Wednesday.
Molins said the weapons found inside the apartment include handguns, assault rifles, industrial explosives, and 500 grams of the high explosive acetone peroxide, also called TATP.
Additionally, police seized five stolen French passports, a tear gas canister, seven new cellphones, two personal computers, detonators, acid, and various metal objects that were likely intended to serve as bomb shrapnel.
The prosecutor said the nature of the weapons found indicates that a terror attack was “imminent” — although it remains unclear exactly where the plot may have been carried out.
Investigators have said, though, that the attack was likely aimed at France or some other nearby European country, like Germany or Belgium.
Kriket was arrested and the plot was foiled, officials said, when police raided the Argenteuil neighborhood as the result of information gleaned from the Brussels terror investigation.
French investigators have said they believe Kriket has connections to three other terror suspects recently arrested — two in Belgium and one in the Netherlands.
Molins said the amount of weapons found in the Paris apartment was of an “unprecedented scale.”
Officials say Kriket became known to authorities last year when a terror suspect was arrested in Turkey, where police came across Kriket’s name as a potential associate. A warrant was issued for his arrest in January.
Kriket has denied any links to terrorism and said the weapons in the apartment were stored there by an acquaintance, ABC News reported Wednesday.