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6 Sep, 2017 13:26

2 arrested in anti-terrorism operation near Paris (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Two men have been arrested after the discovery of explosives and bomb components at an apartment in Villejuif, a suburb of Paris, local media reports.

Following a tip-off from a man doing maintenance work, police raided an apartment in the Paris suburb and found explosive materials, including the ingredients for TATP explosive, gas canisters and wire, several local media report.

Two suspects have subsequently been arrested.

Earlier, the official Twitter account of Villejuif warned people to stay away from the area.

The city is asking residents to avoid the neighborhood of 8 May and around the Esselières, where traffic is currently blocked,” it said.

READ MORE: Terrorist attack potential ‘very high’ as 271 ISIS jihadists return to France – interior minister

Counterterrorism police surrounded the building, at Boulevard Chastenet-de-Géry, at around 3pm and began evacuating residents.

“I am counting on the police for a delicate operation,” Villejuif mayor Franck Le Bohellec wrote on Facebook, posting a picture from the scene.

In an official statement, French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said he praised the “civic duty of the artisan who, late in the morning in Villejuif, rapidly informed the security services allowing them to discover the ingredients used to make explosives.”

Collomb also praised the professionalism and rapid response of the police officers at the scene, as well as those who carried out the arrest.

TATP, or triacetone triperoxide, is an explosive compound that can be made using readily-available ingredients, including nail-polish remover and household bleach. Sometimes known as the ‘mother of Satan’, it has been used in several terrorist atrocities, including the 2016 Brussels bombings and the Manchester Arena bombing in May.

France is in a state of emergency after suffering a series of bloody terrorist attacks, including a set of coordinated strikes by jihadist militants across Paris on the night of November 13, 2015, which killed 130 people. There was also a vehicle-ramming attack in Nice in July 2016, in which a lone-wolf terrorist drove a 19-ton cargo truck into crowds of people celebrating Bastille Day on the Promenade des Anglais.

There have also been a number of smaller attacks, most recently a shooting on the Champs-Élysées days before April’s presidential election, which left one police officer dead and three others injured.