French authorities charged a woman on Saturday night with “terrorist criminal association” after she organized alongside three other women an attack to the Notre Dame Cathedral, in the heart of Paris. According to police authorities, the women were guided by the Islamic State.

French police officers found a Peugeot 607 in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral loaded with half a dozen gas canisters, five of them were reportedly full. Inside, it also had a blanket with traces and a burned-out cigarette, though no detonator of firing device was found. The prosecutor, Francois Molins, said that the fingerprints of the woman, who was identified as Ornella G, were found in the car on Sunday. The failed attack was led by a group of French women, of which one had a note where she pledged alliance to ISIS.

Armed French soldiers
French authorities charged a woman on Saturday night with “terrorist criminal association.” Image credit: Charles Platiau/REUTERS.

The women had connection with ISIS

Ornella G was charged by French authorities with “terrorist criminal association to commit crimes against people” and “attempted assassinations as an organized gang in connection with a terrorist enterprise”. Ornella was already on France’s “S” list of radicalized people who were believed to be a threat to national security.

Law enforcement officials knew she had traveled to Syria and was in contact with members of the Islamic State. She was arrested last Tuesday near the city of Orange, in the south of France. According to the prosecutor, she was accompanied by a person who was later released.

“Information we were able to get from our intelligence services allowed us to act before it was too late,” said President Francois Hollande.

‘I am attacking you in your lands in order to terrorize you’

French authorities also arrested Tuesday three other women near Paris, on the same terrorist attack attempt. According to French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, the women, whose ages are 19, 23, and 39, were radicalized too and they all had been planning an “imminent and violent” attack. The raid left two knife wounded officers, while one of the arrested women was shot in the leg.

The group was “guided by individuals in Syria,” which showed that ISIS “means to turn women into fighters,” Molins said.

The 19-year old woman, Ines Madani,  had a letter in her purse where she swore alliance and obedience to the Islamic State. According to Molins, she wrote in the letter: “I am attacking you in your lands in order to terrorize you”.

In the letter, she also expressed that she was answering the call of Abu Mohammad al-Adnani, who was one of the highest-ranking members of ISIS, but was killed few weeks ago. Ines’ father was the owner of the abandoned Peugeot.

Another woman of the group, whose name is Sarah H., was engaged to Larossi Aballa, a man who killed two French police officers in Magnanville in June, but who was later killed by police. After that, she was supposed to marry Adel Kermiche, who was also a murder. The latter slit the throat of Jacques Hamel, an 85-year old priest in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, in July. But Kermiche was also shot to death by police.

France continues to fear terrorist attacks

Terrorism and militant extremism have killed more than 200 people in France over the last 10 months. France is going through a permanent state of emergency since the Paris attacks in November, and those during the Bastille day in Nice. Authorities are trying to monitor domestic radicals but it is a difficult task.

Authorities arrested a minor on Saturday since they suspected that he was trying to prepare a terror attack involving knives and bladed weapons. The fifteen-year-old was arrested in the 12th district of Paris and has been questioned by the General Directorate of Internal Security.

Authorities are concerned by the increasing number of young women and adolescent girls who have been recruited by ISIS in France. More than a third of the 700 French individuals who have gone to Iraq and Syria are women.

It is strange that women are participating in attacks, since the role of women in the Islamic state is “to ensure the longevity of the caliphate” by having and raising children. They don’t traditionally take part in attacks. But it appears that young girls are sometimes even more radicalized than young men.

Source: The Washington Post