It’s been a deadly year for France, with over 200 citizens being lost to ISIS in the last 10 months. This weekend, the prime minister of France, Manuel Valls, issued a warning to citizens, warning more attacks were imminent, and more innocents are in danger, reports BBC News.
Since November 13 of last year, the country has been in a state of emergency due to the ever-present threat of terrorism and ISIS and the attacks on a Paris nightclub. In a radio address this weekend, PM Valls told citizens that 15,000 people in the country were being monitored as suspected jihadist militants, reports BBC News.
This address came after two teens and two others — three of this group being women — were arrested on suspicion of ISIS connections last week. French authorities say that 10,000 of the 15,000 being monitored have been identified as high-risk.
One of the arrests this weekend was a 15-year-old boy. He had been under home arrest since the attack in Paris last year, according to an anonymous source who spoke to Newsweek. The anonymous source said that he had been planning an attack on a “public place in the French capital.”
BBC News says the boy has been under surveillance for months, and French officials discovered he had been in contact with ISIS leader Rashid Kassim. Kassim has been linked to the attack in France this Summer, where an 84-year-old priest was taken hostage and had his throat slit.
That attack led to a week of mourning for France. It had come 12 days after an ISIS truck drove into Bastille Day celebrations in Nice, France. The 15-year-old was arrested Saturday on the suspicion of planning a terror attack. It was the second foiled ISIS attack by France this week.
Three women were also arrested in France within the past week in another foiled attack. They were arrested for the suspicion of planning “imminent and violent” attacks, says BBC News. A 29-year-old woman, known only as Ornella G, was charged with attempted murder and involvement in terrorism after her fingerprints had been found inside a car near the Notre Dame cathedral.
Insider the car, gas cylinders and jerry cans of gas were found. She also had a history of attempting to enter Syria, all of which had been recently and consistently thwarted.
Ornella was arrested with her boyfriend, reports BBC News, who was released by authorities shortly after the arrest. The gas cans in the vehicle outside Notre Dame are said to be linked to an ISIS attack planned for a Paris railway, reports Newsweek. That foiled attack led to the arrest of seven, including four women.
A second anonymous source to Newsweek said that one of those women had also been in contact with Rashid Kassim, who has been directly connected to the week of mourning France endured after Father Jacques Hamel and four hostages, including two nuns, were taken.
Newsweek reports that Rashid Kassim is currently in Syria, according to French newspaper Le Monde. He uses a messaging service called Telegram to create his own warnings for more attacks on France.
Newsweek says one of his recent telegrams included the words, “Women, sisters, go on, attack. Where are the brothers? She brandished a knife and she hit a policeman. Where are the men?”
In this message, Kassim is referring to one of the female arrests last Thursday in France. The woman reportedly knifed a law enforcement agent before she was shot. Twenty-nine-year-old Ornella G. was not the woman who was shot, but she was in connection with that attack and was immediately put under investigation when her fingerprints were connected with the vehicle outside Notre Dame cathedral last week.
Ornella went before a judge on Saturday to face preliminary ISIS charges, reports CBS News. The car she had allegedly been using to carry out the attacks had been found abandoned without license plates and with the hazard lights flashing.
The car was traced to Essonne in south Paris to a woman known as Ines Madani. When police arrived at that location, a confrontation with three women occurred.
One of those women was 19-year-old daughter of Ines. During the confrontation, she lunged towards a police officer with a knife and was shot and wounded in the leg by the police officer, reports CBS News. A 23-year-old woman known as Sarah H was also involved in the confrontation.
She stabbed a plainclothes police officer through his open car window. A 39-year-old woman, known as Amel S., also reportedly lived in the residence and was also arrested in connection with planned ISIS attacks.
Parisian prosecutor Francois Molins reportedly said Amel’s 16-year-old daughter was also connected to what he referred to as a terrorist project. CBS News reports that Molins later said that the women were connected to Syrian members of ISIS.
“In the last few days and hours, a terrorist cell was dismantled, composed of young women totally receptive to the deadly Daesh ideology…shows this organization intends to make women combatants.”
Evidence linking the women to the attacks includes not just the evidence in the car, reports CBS News. A letter of allegiance was found inside the handbag of Ines Madani, the registered owner of the vehicle.
It read, “I attack you in your lands to mark your minds and terrorize you.”
One of the young women in the home, known as Sarah H., was reportedly linked to an ISIS combatant and expected to marry him. He is known as Larossi Abballa and has been accused of killing a police couple in their home before he was killed in a law enforcement raid.
She was then scheduled to marry the man known as Adel Kermiche, who slit the throat of 84-year-old Rev. Jacques Hamel during church mass in Normandy this past July. CBS News says that Mohamed Lamine A. was her next expected husband, who has known connections to radicalized groups and whose brother is currently jailed for other ISIS murders.
The following clip provides the horrifying details of the hostage situation of two nuns, the priest, and two congregation members during morning mass this past July.
BBC News reports that in light of these foiled attacks and arrests, France PM Valls issued more attack warnings to his people and said the following in a radio address.
“Today the threat is at a maximum, and we are a target. Every day intelligence services, police, foil attacks, dismantle networks, track terrorists. There are about 15,000 people in France who are monitored, because these people are in the process of radicalization. There will be new attacks. There will be innocent victims.”
[Photo by Christophe Ena/AP Images]