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Notre-Dame plot: Five women jailed over foiled car bomb attack


Five French women have been sentenced to between five and 30 years in jail for trying to detonate a car bomb near Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris in 2016.
The case is said to be the first to involve a group of women attempting to stage an Islamist attack in France.
They failed to ignite half a dozen gas canisters placed in the vehicle.
Inès Madani, Ornella Gilligmann, Sarah Hervouët, Amel Sakaou and Samia Chalel, now aged between 22 and 42, are all converts to Islam.
Madani, who posed as a male Islamist militant to recruit women for the Islamic State (IS) group, was given 30 years, while Gilligmann, a married mother of three, was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Hervouët and Sakaou were given 20 years each, while Chalel received five years for helping Madani hide after the failed attack.

Madani’s lawyer described the sentence as “an excessively harsh punishment”, given there had been no deaths nor injuries as a result of the failed attack.
Prosecutors had requested life imprisonment for four of the women.
How did the bomb plot unfold?
On 4 September 2016, police were alerted to an abandoned grey Peugeot 607 vehicle parked near the cathedral, which is located in one of Paris’s busiest tourist locations.
The car’s licence plates had been removed and its hazard lights were flashing.
Inside, officers found half a dozen gas canisters, three jerry cans of diesel and a half-smoked cigarette. The contents of the vehicle had been doused in fuel, but the cigarette had failed to ignite it, police said.
Investigators said the bomb attempt would likely had been successful had it not been for “the wrong choice of fuel”, which was difficult to light.
The discovery prompted an urgent police search.
The car was found to belong to Madani’s father and fingerprints belonging to Madani and Gilligmann were collected from the inside.
Did the women act on their own?
Madani, 22, was arrested a few days later at an apartment in a Paris suburb along with two other defendants, Hervouët and Sakaou.
The trio put up a fight, brandishing knives. Hervouët stabbed one officer in the shoulder, and Madani was shot in the leg while charging at another.
Gilligmann was arrested in southern France on 6 September.

Police said they found a handwritten pledge of allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi inside Madani’s purse.
The women are suspected of planning the bomb attack on the instructions of Rashid Kassim, a so-called handler for IS who was based in Syria at the time. Kassim is thought to have been killed in Iraq in 2017 and was sentenced in absentia to life in jail by the French court that convicted the women.Bengbenronews

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