The arrests of four men and a woman by French police averted a plot at the "11th hour" to kill Dalil Boubakeur rector of the main mosque in Paris, the London's Daily Mail reports.
Boubakeur, with a reputation as a moderate, has been under police protection since September, after a series of terrorist threats against France became public. The five people arrested this week are believed to have returned to France from training and fighting alongside the Taliban.
"All were linked to a major inquiry into jihadists returning from the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area and threatening to assassinate the rector of the Paris Mosque, Dalil Boubakeur," said Bernard Squarcini, head of France's domestic intelligence agency, the DCRI.
The terrorist plots in France are believed to stem, in part, from the country's decision to ban Muslim women from wearing burqas, head-to-toe garments, as a response to rising extremism there. Boubakeur expressed concern over the policy when it was proposed, but has called the burqa a sign of "excess, a radicalization" among Muslims.
He expressed appreciation for the arrests, the Daily Mail reports.
Boubakeur welcomed the arrests saying : "Unfortunately men of peace are threatened all too often … Thanks to our system we can protect freedom of thought and freedom of expression and have the freedom to live together in this dangerous world."