Failed Paris Car Bomb Attack Guided From Syria, Prosecutor Says

(Bloomberg) -- The failed car bombing in Paris that led to the arrest of three women Thursday night was organized by Islamic State from Syria, the Paris prosecutor said at a press conference.

“The act shows that Daesh intends to use women as combatants,” Prosecutor Francois Molins said in a press conference in Paris, using the preferred French term for Islamic State. “If women in Daesh were initially limited to domestic chores, this image is now out-dated.”

The arrests resulted from the discovery of a car containing five gas canisters parked near Paris’s Notre Dame cathedral earlier this week. The owner of the Peugeot 607 was the father of one of the suspects, who had gone missing from home earlier this week, Molins said.

These women “were radicalized fanatics clearly preparing fresh violent actions,” Interior Minister Bernard 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. They are aged 19, 23, and 39 and were born in France, Molins said. Some were known to the police for their contacts with other radicalized individuals, he said. The youngest suspect, whom Molins named as Ines M. and who had pledged allegiance to Islamic State, stabbed a police officer in the shoulder during the arrest and in turn was shot twice in the leg before being subdued. He gave the names of the other two as Sarah H. and Amele S.

Molins didn’t say why the women had abandoned the car. Television station i-Tele reported they panicked after mistaking a cleaning crew for undercover police, and a local bar waiter alerted the police because the car lacked license plates.

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.

“An attack has been broken up,” President Francois Hollande said in Athens, where he’s attending a meeting of European leaders. “But there will be others. We must remain vigilant.”