France arrests 12 in anti-terror raids

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Police in France have arrested 12 people and seized guns and ammunition in anti-terrorism raids in the south of the country, officials say.

Nine arrests were made in Marseille and the nearby town of Avignon, with three others held in a separate case.

The raids come as security sources in some Western countries warn of a plot to attack public targets in Europe.

However, police have not said if there is a link between the latest arrests and the warnings.

A French official told AFP that police had seized weapons "including a Kalashnikov (rifle) and a pump-action shotgun, as well as ammunition" in Tuesday's raids.

In the separate operation, French police also arrested three men after finding their numbers in the mobile phone of a man arrested in Italy at the weekend, the agency said. The man arrested in Naples was allegedly carrying a bomb-making kit.

Two of those suspects were arrested in Marseille and the third in the south-western city of Bordeaux, reports added.

Officials said that the two sets of arrests were not linked.

Details of an alleged al-Qaeda plot against European targets first emerged in the US media and were later confirmed by European security sources.

The US, UK, Sweden and Japan have since updated advice to their citizens travelling in Europe, to warn of possible attacks.

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