France Arrests Three Women Seen Readying Terror Attacks

  • Arrests were linked to car found containing gas canisters
  • Suspects aged 19, 23, and 39; youngest one stabbed policeman

French police arrested three women who were plotting imminent terrorist attacks, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said late Thursday. A police officer and a suspect were injured in the operation.

The arrests resulted from an investigation of a car containing gas canisters found near Paris’s Notre Dame cathedral earlier this week. The owner of the car was the father of one of the suspects, France Info radio reported.

These women “were radicalized fanatics clearly preparing fresh violent actions,” Cazeneuve said late Thursday at a press conference in Paris. “France is confronted with an unprecedented terrorist threat,” he added.

The three females were arrested on a suburban street near Paris around 8 p.m. local time Thursday, Europe1 radio reported. They are aged 19, 23, and 39 and some were known to the police for their contacts with other radicalized individuals, it said. The youngest suspect, who had pledged allegiance to Islamic State, stabbed a police officer during the arrest and in turn was shot and wounded, Europe1 said.

Since the beginning of 2015, more than 200 people have been killed in France in Islamic terrorist attacks. This year alone, 260 arrests have been made in France in relation to terrorist activities, Cazeneuve said. The Paris prosecutor will handle the investigation.

— With assistance by Gregory Viscusi

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