A 22-year-old man was arrested Wednesday morning on the outskirts of Paris in connection with last weekend's stabbing of a soldier on patrol in the French capital, Interior Minister Manuel Valls said.
The suspect was tracked down using DNA technology and surveillance video images, said Valls in an interview with the iTele network.
The minister refused to confirm the information provided by the media that the attacker was a convert to Islam who was known for his radicalism.
"Now we have to (learn) more about his motive ... (and) about his environment," Valls said.
Citing police sources, France Info radio said that the arrested man was named Alexandre and comes from the poor Paris suburb of Trappes, has no permanent residence and on Tuesday night stayed at the home of acquaintances.
When asked about how many people in France have a profile making them susceptible to carrying out similar attacks, Valls responded that "there are several dozen, several hundred potential Merahs," but he added "I don't want to say that all would take action."
This is - he said - a situation of criminals, some of whom have converted to Islam, who become radicalized and may commit terrorist acts.
He alluded to Mohammed Merah, the young man who carried out killings in and around Toulouse in March 2012, attacking soldiers and a Jewish school, and who died in a police assault on his home in that southern city.
The stabbing attack against 23-year-old soldier Cedric Cordiez occurred last Saturday when he was on patrol in the capital's La Defense district.
Cordiez, who was released from the hospital on Monday, is one of the 1,200 army troops deployed in different parts of the country as part of the precautions taken after France intervened in Mali. EFE