A suspected al Qaeda operative who was arrested with his brother Thursday in Paris had been working on projects for a nuclear-research facility near Geneva. French intelligence investigators said the physicist, 32 and of Algerian origin, was “very high level” while working on analysis projects related to the Large Hadron Collider at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN. Officials say he had been in contact with people linked to al Qaeda’s North African wing about potential targets for terrorism in France, and he had expressed a desire to carry out attacks but had “not committed material preparatory acts.” The interior minister said the brothers were a big enough threat to be hauled in, ending the French government’s 18-month-long surveillance of them. CERN issued a statement saying that none of its research had any military application.
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