French police have arrested two people after a car filled with seven gas cylinders was discovered near Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.
France remains in a state of emergency following recent terror attacks, including a truck attack in Nice, the beheading of an elderly priest in Normandy and two major attacks in Paris in 2015. There has also been a number of intercepted plots.
Police arrested a couple – a man aged 34 and his 29-year-old female partner – after a Peugeot 607 car with no registration plates was discovered containing seven gas cylinders and a book with Arabic writing on Sunday (4 September) morning, according to BFM TV and Le Parisien newspaper.
According to French media the car was parked, with its warning lights on, on Rue du Petit-Pont on the Quai de Montebello in the fifth Arrondissement.
The Quai de Montebello is a narrow stretch of water away from Paris's most popular landmarks, Notre Dame Cathedral, which attracts 13 million visitors every year.
Arrested couple known to intelligence agencies
When police peered into the car, they found a visible gas cylinder that was later found to be empty, before discovering an additional six cylinders in the car boot – all of which were full. No detonator or ignition systems were found.
"The car was parked for almost two hours, according to my information, [in an area where parking] is forbidden," the fifth Arrondissement mayor, Florence Berthout, told BFM TV. The couple were known to the intelligence services. The duration of police custody may be up to 96 hours.
Last month, Marne-de-la-Vallée train station, situated close to Disneyland Paris, was evacuated after a suspect device was reportedly found. An estimated 14 million tourists visit the Disneyland Paris resort and theme park every year.