A car containing several gas cylinders was discovered close to the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris last Saturday night and its owner, now in custody, is on an intelligence services watchlist of people suspected of religious radicalisation, police officials said.
The Peugeot 607, which had no registration plates, contained seven gas cylinders, one of them empty on the front passenger seat.
It was found with its hazard lights flashing, as if to attract attention, two police officials said on Wednesday. “We think he may have been trying to carry out a test-run,” one of the officials said.
There was no detonating device present in the car, found on a Seine riverside stretch called the Quai de Montebello, metres from the Notre-Dame cathedral.
Documents with writing in Arabic were also found in the car.
More than 200 people have been killed in terror attacks over the past year-and-a-half in France.
France remains on maximum alert after calls by the Islamic State group for followers to attack the country, which is bombing the militant group’s bases in Iraq and Syria.