- The girl, 16, identified as Sarah Z, appeared before a Paris anti-terrorist judge
- She is said to have met her ISIS-obsessed boyfriend called Thomas S online
- They were arrested at a flat in the southern city of Montpellier in France
- The couple face years in prison after being caught with 71g of lethal explosives
A teenage girl who converted to Islam is alleged to have plotted to blow up tourists around the Eiffel Tower after meeting her fanatic fiancé and pledging her loyalty to ISIS online.
Appearing before an anti-terrorist judge in Paris today, she was identified only as Sarah Z, 16, and faces years in prison after being caught with 71g of potentially lethal explosives in her flat near Montpellier, in the South of France.
At dawn this morning the French youngster and her boyfriend – identified as Thomas S – were driven from the HQ of France’s domestic intelligence services to a specially convened terrorist court in central Paris.
Armed officers set up roadblocks and secured the area, as the couple and a third suspect were presented to an instructing judge, who opened a judicial enquiry.
It follows the couple’s arrests, along with two other men, last Friday in what was described as a ‘bomb factory’ cellar.
Sources close to the case said Sarah lived with her divorced mother, who is of Greek origin, and two younger sisters in Clapiers, a village north of Montpellier.
Last year Sarah was still at school when she ‘started to take an interest in radical Islam’ by ‘looking up information on the internet,’ said one prosecuting source.
Sarah’s unidentified mother was unable to prevent her meeting Thomas online.
He was on a state security watch list.
The pair converted to Islam, and soon agreed to marry, but what Sarah did not know was that another one of her online friends was in fact working for the DGSI, France’s domestic intelligence agency – the equivalent of Britain’s MI5.
After she started boasting about the planned attack, the agent ordered a dawn raid on Sarah’s apartment block.
It was carried out by heavily armed police special forces, who initially ended up arresting the couple alongside two other men.
The ‘bomb factory’ was in the cellar, where Thomas had been staying.
It included the 71 grams of the peroxide-based explosive triacetone triperoxide, or TATP.
Also known as the ‘Mother of Satan’, TATP figured prominently in the suicide belts used in the 2015 ISIS attacks on Paris, in which 130 people were blown up or shot dead.
Sarah had recorded a video pledging her loyalty to Isis, and in interviews said the Eiffel Tower would have been her main target.Her mother has, however, insisted she is ‘completely innocent’ and will ‘soon be back home’.
Both Zara Z. and Thomas S. were converts to Islam, and were planning to get married before visiting the ISIS caliphate in Syria.
Then their plans were to return to France, where they would carry out the kamikaze attack on an unspecified target using suicide vests.
Bruno Le Roux, France’s Interior Minister, said the raid ‘foiled an imminent plan to carry out an attack on French territory.’
He said some 70 grams of the peroxide-based explosive, triacetone triperoxide, or TATP was found in the couple’s flat.
Also known as the ‘Mother of Satan’, TATP has been used by terrorist bombers for years, and figured prominently in the suicide belts used in the 2015 Isis attacks on Paris.
Also found in the flat were potential bomb-making material including other chemicals, syringes and plastic gloves.
The four suspects had been monitored online for months, and were arrested after buying acetone, the colorless, volatile, highly flammable liquid often used as an ingredient for detonators.
The other two suspects taken into custody were aged 26 and 33, said Mr Le Roux.
He added that an address was also searched in the Ardennes region of eastern France in connection with the plot.
A police source said that all four suspects ‘were living together’ and planning the Paris attack.
‘The girl was in online contact with a number of men she had never met, and one was an intelligence services operative,’ said the source.
‘She had an expressed a desire to fight in Syria, and also to attack a tourist spot in Paris. The spot had not yet been designated.’
Terror attacks in France over past 2 years
February 3, 2017 – A 29-year-old Egypitian man is shot five times in the stomach after attempting to attack four soldiers after being stopped outside the Louvre in Paris.
July 14, 2016 – Amid Bastille Day celebrations in the Riviera city of Nice, a large truck is driven into a festive crowd. Some 86 people from a wide variety of countries are killed. The driver is shot dead. Islamic State extremists claim responsibility for the attack. The state of emergency in France is extended and extra protection, including robust barriers to prevent similar attacks, is put in place at major sites in France.
June 13, 2016 – Two French police officers are murdered in their home in front of their 3-year-old son. Islamic State claims responsibility for the slaying, which was carried out by a jihadist with a prior terrorist conviction. He is killed by police on the scene.
Nov. 13, 2015 – Islamic State militants kill 130 people in France’s worst atrocity since World War II. A series of suicide bomb and shooting attacks are launched on crowded sites in central Paris, as well as the northern suburb of Saint-Denis. Most of those killed are in a crowded theater where hostages are taken. Islamic State extremists claim responsibility and say it was in retaliation for French participation in airstrikes on the militant group’s positions in Syria and Iraq. It leads to the declaration of a state of emergency in France. Police powers are expanded.
Jan. 7, 2015 – Two brothers kill 11 people inside the Paris building where the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo is headquartered in what Islamic State extremists claim is retaliation for the publication of cartoons about the Prophet Muhammad. More are killed subsequently in attacks on a kosher market in eastern Paris and on police. There are 17 victims in all, including two police officers. The attackers are killed.
Source : Dailymail UK