PARIS — A woman was charged over the weekend by French authorities in connection with an alleged terrorist plot to attack Notre Dame cathedral with a car bomb.
Identified as “Ornella G.”, she was charged Saturday with “terrorist criminal association to commit crimes against people” and “attempted assassinations as an organized gang in connection with a terrorist enterprise,” the Paris prosecutor’s office announced, according to CNN.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, declared that France is facing a “maximum threat” after a car with explosive materials was found near Notre Dame cathedral last Thursday.
“We’ve seen it again these last few days, these last few hours and again while we are speaking. Every day, the intelligence services, the police, the gendarmerie (similar to the National Guard), every day, they are thwarting attacks, dismantling the Iraqi-Syrian networks.”
This past Wednesday Sept. 7, French police arrested six people for abandoning days prior a car in the vicinity of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, with the emergency flashers on and inside various cooking gas cylinders, a blanket soaked in gasoline and an extinguished cigarette. They did not find any detonation devices.
Police officials reported the arrest of six women, four of which were later released. Of the two under arrest, one of them is connected to a man who had died on behalf of the Islamic State, and the other, Inès Madan, the 19-year-old owner of the car in which the explosive material was found, had sworn allegiance to the Islamic State.
“There are young girls radicalized just as much as the men, who also want the status of martyr, and so they want to take action.”
These arrests have been “a race against time” to prevent them from acting again, according to a recent statement by French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve.
The multiple arrests on Sept. 7 are connected to three attacks: the foiled car bomb attack near Notre Dame cathedral, the murder of two police near Paris this past June, and the stabbing of the French priest, Father Jacques Hamel as he was celebrating Mass this past month of July.
In the last 10 months more than 200 people have died in France in different terrorist attacks. Attacks, which according to the Associated Press, mark a new phase in the efforts of the Islamic State to spread terror throughout Europe.
Manuel Valls said authorities are monitoring nearly 15,000 people in France believed to be in the process of radicalization, sources at CNN report.
“Among the changes that have occurred in recent months, the dismantled jihadist cell was made up entirely of women completely imbued in the ideology of the Islamic State,” said François Molins, magistrate and prosecutor for the French Republic.
The group was directed by persons in Syria who turn these women into soldiers, Molins said. In recent months the number of teen age girls and young people recruited by the Islamic State in France has increased.
France has been under a state of emergency since November 2015, when the terrorist attacks at the Bataclan theater and multiple other locations throughout the Paris left over 100 dead and several hundred more wounded.