Woman charged over failed attack on Paris's Notre Dame

Citizenside / AFP | A car loaded with gas canisters had been found last weekend in the tourist district of Notre- Dame de Paris, in the heart of the French capital.

French anti-terror judges on Saturday charged a woman over a failed attack near Paris' Notre Dame cathedral, where a car containing gas canisters was found last weekend.


The woman, named as 29-year-old Ornella G., was remanded in custody after being charged with association with a terrorist group and attempted murder by an organised group, prosecutors said.

She had been known to security services for planning to head to Syria.

Ornella G. was arrested in southern France on Tuesday with her boyfriend, who has since been released.

According to investigators, her fingerprints were found in the Peugeot car which was discovered abandoned last Sunday a few hundred metres (yards) from Notre Dame with five gas cylinders and three bottles of diesel fuel inside.

A woman linked to Ornella G. was also part of a suspected trio of women jihadists foiled by the authorities before they could carry out a fresh attack, investigators said.

Ornella G.'s fingerprints were found in a Peugeot car abandoned last Sunday a few hundred metres (yards) from Notre Dame with five gas cylinders and three bottles of diesel fuel inside, according to the probe.

Police on Thursday also arrested her alleged accomplice southeast of Paris – Ines M., 19, the daughter of the owner of the car. Ines M. also allegedly pledged an oath to IS.

The reason why the car was not detonated are unclear.

Investigators told AFP Ornella G. and Ines M. had apparently tried to set fire to the vehicle but "fled when they saw a man they believed to be a plain-clothes policeman."

Two other women, aged 23 and 39, were arrested with Ines M.

The trio had been plotting another attack, and were looking at train stations in Paris and south of the Paris, as well as the police, as potential targets, an unofficial source said.

IS group link

They were guided by the IS in Syria, anti-terrorism prosecutor Francois Molins said on Friday.

"A terrorist cell made up of young women totally receptive to the deadly ideology of Daesh has been dismantled," Molins said at a news conference, using a name for IS, which is also known by the acronyms of ISIS and ISIL.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said on Saturday that police had arrested 293 people this year for "links to terrorist networks."

"This amounts to networks that have been dismantled and attacks that have been prevented," Cazeneuve said on a trip to Chateauroux, central France.

The minister did not give further details about the arrests.

"We are involved in an extremely intense, round-the-clock mission to protect the French public, and we are getting results," Cazeneuve said.

Security is one of the hot issues in early campaigning for next year's presidential elections.

A total of 238 people in France have been killed and hundreds wounded since January 2015 in a string of attacks attributed to, or fomented by, the Islamic State jihadist group.

Cazeneuve added that 17 foreigners had been expelled since the start of the year for posing a "serious threat to public order."

The latest was a Russian national who was expelled to Russia on Friday after the man was jailed for breaching house arrest, he said.

The man’s lawyer said he was a Chechen born in 1991 who had arrived in France as a child and had been placed under house arrest in 2012.


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