Seven Brits are being held by police in Paris suspected of the attempted “hit and run” murder of a police officer outside the Israeli Embassy.
The suspects – four men and three women who have not been named but are said to be London residents – were travelling in a Mercedes and a BMW with false number plates.
Their vehicles were filmed threatening the policeman outside the hugely secure Embassy close to the Champs Elysée in the French capital on Monday night.
An investigating source alleged to reporters: “They suddenly deviated from their direction of travel and rushed towards the officer, who narrowly escaped.”
It follows rising tensions caused by the beheading of a teacher in the Paris suburbs last Friday by a radicalised terrorist infuriated that cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed were shown to children.
Video surveillance cameras on Monday night allegedly picked up the faces of three suspects in the Mercedes and three others in the BMW, and all were considered to be in a group, along with a seventh suspect who was not in the cars.
The source claimed the two vehicles managed to escape after the alleged 7pm attack, and were later seen “lurking” close to the Elysée Palace, the official homes of the President of France.
A city-wide manhunt was launched, and all the suspects were by Tuesday brought into custody at a secure police station in Paris.
Prosecutors today confirmed that the men and women – who include two minors in their late teens – are being investigated for “the attempted murder of a person in public authority”.
The crime can be punished by a maximum sentence of life in prison in France.
An early theory advanced by investigators is that the suspects were planning a “hit-and-run” on the police.
President Macron was today preparing to lead a National Hommage to Samuel Paty, the 47-year-old teacher who was murdered by Russian-born Abdullakh Anzarov, 18.
The beheading happened outside the Bois-d’Aulne school in Conflans-Saint-Honorine, north of Paris, where Mr Paty taught French and Geography.
An attempted murder enquiry has also been opened in Paris after two Muslim women were “stabbed repeatedly” underneath the Eiffel Tower, prosecutors confirmed today.
French police have arrested two female suspects following the suspected racist attacks which were allegedly accompanied by the words “Dirty Arabs!”