According to JSS News and Europe 1, a source from the French security agency the Central Directorate of Homeland Intelligence revealed that two Muslim girls, aged 15 and 17, were arrested in the Tarbes and Venissieux neighborhoods a week ago, after authorities uncovered a plan to carry out a suicide bombing inside the Great Synagogue of Lyon. They were indicted on August 22nd for conspiracy to commit terrorism.
Times of Israel Two had never met but communicated via social media, the investigation revealed. “These girls were part of a network of young Islamists who were being monitored by security services,” an unnamed security source was quoted by Newsweek as saying. They’re neither the first adolescents nor the first females arrested in France. Some after returning from Syria or fetched by families at the Turkish border.
The girls are among some 60 people being investigated in France for criminal association in relation with a terrorist enterprise, in one example of how France is taking judicial action against citizens suspected of seeking careers as foreign fighters, even if they have yet to leave French soil. Thousands of European citizens have made the trip to Syrian battlegrounds, but there is no unified plan of action in Europe.
France is leading the way in Europe in the battle against this problem, and its sweep could get even wider with a planned law that would allow passports to be confiscated from those suspected of planning to fight in Syria or Iraq, and would create new measures to prosecute jihadi wannabes or returnees. France also is planning to join other European countries in blocking Internet sites that espouse the jihadi cause.
France, with a Muslim population estimated at 5 million — the largest in Western Europe — is particularly concerned about the flight of youths to the battlefields. French authorities say there are some 900 people from France who have been implicated in jihad — meaning they have taken part in one, plan to join one, or are returning from one. Several dozen have been killed.