Terrorist Cell

Notre Dame plot suggests ISIS is shifting focus to recruit female attackers

REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

Over the past few days, French police have detained four women with connections to an attempted terror attack in Paris.

On Sunday of last week, an abandoned car loaded with canisters of cooking gas and bottles of diesel fuel was found near Notre Dame Cathedral, a major tourist attraction in the city. The suspects reportedly tried — and failed — to ignite the gas with a fuel-soaked rag and a lit cigarette.

Investigators have traced the attempted attack to a terrorist cell “composed of young women totally receptive to the deadly Daesh ideology,” according to Paris prosecutor Francois Molins. As Christopher Dickey points out in The Daily Beast, this incident marks a dramatic shift in ISIS’s recruitment tactics.

“ISIS in Syria and Iraq, even though it has mounted a concerted campaign to recruit women, always made it clear their role would be to serve the male jihadis as wives and mothers,” Dickey writes. “Now, they’re nothing but more fodder for its war.”

The ringleader of the thwarted Paris plot has been identified as 19-year-old Inès Madani, who stole her father’s car to use in the attack. On the day of her arrest, she reportedly stabbed an officer before being shot by police in the thigh and ankle.

One of the other conspirators, identified in the French press as Sarah H., has been engaged to two French terrorists: Larossi Abballa, who stabbed and killed two police officials in June, and Adel Kermiche, who helped cut the throat of an elderly priest in Normandy this past July.

The women are believed to have been directed by French jihadist Rachid Kassim, who is fighting with ISIS in the Middle East. Press reports indicate that Kassim communicated with the group through encrypted messages on Telegram, a messaging app.

Read the full story at The Daily Beast.

Related:

Woman who blew herself up during Paris raid identified

Teenage girls charged over terror plot on Paris concert venue

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