French counterterrorism police arrested a 15-year old boy on Wednesday following two recent thwarted attacks, marking the third such arrest of a 15-year-old in a week.
A security official said the suspect was arrested in northeastern Paris and turned 15 only a few days ago. In a separate case, a 15-year-old was arrested last Thursday on suspicion he was about to carry out a knife attack, a judicial official said on Wednesday. Yet another 15-year-old was arrested Saturday on suspicion of planning something similar.
The two officials were not authorized to speak publicly about the cases and demanded to remain anonymous.
It was unclear if the three boys knew each other, in real life or online. However, officials are investigating if a potential link could be Rachid Kassim, who they say is a French Islamic State member tied to at least four plots to attack France since June.
The boy arrested on Wednesday has links to Kassim, according to the security official, while the judicial official said investigators were trying to verify whether the boys arrested Saturday and Thursday also had links to the jihadi.
The boy arrested on Thursday in Rueil-Malmaison, west of Paris, was handed a preliminary charge three days later of criminal terrorist association, the judicial official said. Investigators were also trying to verify whether he had links to Adel Kermiche, one of two young men who slit the throat of a priest as he said Mass in a church in Normandy in June.