Three women who were planning a terror strike in Paris were radicalized by the “Islamic State,” French prosecutors said. The women were arrested after their abandoned car was found last week.
French Security Police in front of Notre Dame cathedral, in Paris
“In the last few days and hours, a terrorist cell was dismantled, composed of young women totally receptive to the deadly Daesh ideology,” Paris’ Prosecutor Francois Molins told a news conference on Friday, referring to the “Islamic State” (IS) by another name.
“The terrorist organization uses not only women, but young women, who get to know them and develop their plot from a distance,” he added.
The French government said it was a “race against time” to find the women before they could strike.
Soldiers patrol in front of Notre Dame cathedral in November 2015. Photograph by Patrick Kovarik, AFP, Getty Images
“There’s a group that has been annihilated, but there are others,” French President Francois Hollande said on Friday. “Information we were able to get from our intelligence services allowed us to act before it was too late.”
Police were alerted to the possibility of a terror attack on Sunday, when a bar employee working near Notre Dame Cathedral noticed a gas cylinder on the back seat of a parked car. Police found five more cylinders in the car’s trunk. Three bottles of diesel were also discovered in the Peugeot 607, but police found no detonators. The three women were arrested on Thursday in Boussy-Saint-Antoine, south of Paris.
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Security officials said they found a written pledge proving that one of the women was linked to the terror group. The suspect, a 19-year-old known as Ines Madani, was shot in the leg by police on Thursday evening, after she stabbed a police officer with a knife.
Investigators also learned that another accomplice in the case, called Sarah H., was the fiancée of Larossi Abballa, the man who killed a police officer and his partner in a Paris suburb in June. He was shot dead.
Investigations showed Abballa had sworn allegiance to the IS three weeks before killing the couple.
Sarah H. then became engaged to Adel Kermiche, a jihadi, who with another man killed an elderly priest near the city of Rouen in July. He was also shot dead by security forces.
According to figures by the French government, women make up more than one-third of the 700 French citizens who have gone to Iraq and Syria to fight with the IS.
mg/sms (AP, AFP)
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