An abandoned car filled with gas cylinders that was found parked near Paris’ Notre Dame cathedral on Sunday may have been left at the landmark as part of a terror attack “test run,” officials said Wednesday.
The car’s owner, who is on a French intelligence service watch list of people suspected of religious radicalization, was in custody, Sky News reported. At least one other person had also been detained in the investigation.
“We think he may have been trying to carry out a test-run,” a police official told AFP.
An employee of a nearby bar flagged the car Sunday morning as it was parked along the Seine River with its hazard lights flashing, according to two French officials. There were seven gas cylinders inside the car, with one empty cylinder in the front passenger seat and six others in the car’s trunk, authorities said. No detonating device was present.
Documents with Arabic writing were found inside the car, the BBC reported.
France is on alert after a string of Islamic State attacks and threats against landmarks.
Gas canisters filled with nails were used in attacks on Paris in the 1990s by Algeria-linked extremists.