June 22, 2018

Paris gas suspect pledged loyalty to IS

Three women have been arrested in connection with a car laden with gas cylinders found in Paris.

Three women arrested in connection with a car loaded with gas cylinders found near Notre Dame cathedral were planning an attack on a Paris railway station and the youngest had pledged allegiance to Islamic State, officials say.

“An alert has been issued to all stations but they had planned to attack the Gare de Lyon on Thursday,” a ministry official said after the arrests.

The Gare de Lyon station is in the southeast of the capital, less than 3 kilometres from the cathedral which marks the centre.

The official also said the youngest of the three women, a 19 year-old whose father was the owner of the car and who was already suspected by police of wanting to go and fight for IS in Syria, had written a letter pledging allegiance to the militant Islamist group.

The discovery on Saturday night of the Peugeot 607 laden with seven gas cylinders, six of them full, triggered a terrorism investigation and revived fears about further attacks in a country where Islamist militants have killed more than 230 people since January, 2015.

One of the women stabbed a police officer during her arrest before being shot and wounded, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said late on Thursday. Other officials said it was the teenager who attacked the officer.

TV footage showed a policeman leaving the scene of the arrests on the outskirst of Paris carrying a large knife.

“These three women aged 39, 23 and 19 had been radicalised, were fanatics and were in all likelihood preparing an imminent, violent act,” Cazeneuve said in a televised statement. They bring to seven the number of people detained since Tuesday.

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