Police have prevented two men from carrying out an attack on police and army personnel in the central French city of Orleans, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said today.        

Two Frenchmen, aged 20 and 24, were being held for questioning, Mr Cazeneuve said.

Both were believed to have been in contact with another Frenchman, currently thought to be in Syria, who was suspected of organising the plot.            

"The investigation will look into whether he ordered the attacks that one of [the other two] has acknowledged targeted soldiers and police," Mr Cazeneuve said during a visit to the southern city of Toulouse.            

In particular, the suspects aimed to attack a military barracks as well as police stations, a police source said.

They sought to seize weapons and to recruit other attackers, he said.    

Mr Cazeneuve said 10 attacks had been prevented this year in France, which has been in a state of emergency since Islamist gunmen and suicide bombers killed 130 people in Paris last month.