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The Hague: More than 100 "threats to life" were prevented by a huge global crime sting involving encrypted phones that were secretly planted by law enforcement agencies, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation said Tuesday.

"Over the last 18 months the FBI provided criminal organisations with over 300 encrypted devices in over 100 countries that allowed us to monitor their communications," FBI Assistant Director Calvin Shivers told reporters at Europol's HQ in The Hague.

"Not only have we heard about the number of arrests and the number of seizures, but over 100 threats to life that were mitigated," added Shivers.