Terror plot highlights role of female jihadists
LONG cast in supporting roles in the shadow of their male counterparts, women are taking an increasingly active role in the organisation and execution of attacks by jihadist groups.
This emerged from the arrest of four heavily radicalised women, who had plotted an attack in Paris, using a car laden with gas cylinders.
French anti-terror judges charged a woman on September 10 over the failed jihadist attack near Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral.
The mother of three, named as 29-year-old Ornella G, is one of several women detained in the past week on suspicion of planning new attacks in France, a country on high alert after a string of jihadist assaults in the past 18 months.
Three other women – Ines Madani, 19; Sarah H, 23; and Amel S, 39 – were detained on September 8 before they could carry out an attack.
Anti-terrorism prosecutor Francois Molins said the would-be attackers were guided by the Islamic State group in Syria.
“A terrorist cell made up of young women totally receptive to the deadly ideology of Daesh has been dismantled,” Mr Molins said, using the Arabic name for IS.
Mr Molins said the foiled plot showed a change in the role of women in jihadist groups.
They were once confined to domestic tasks but that view is now out of date and they are now also viewed as “fighters”.
“The terrorist organisation uses not only women, but young women, who get to know them and develop their plot from a distance,” he said.
He added the women had been guided remotely from “Syria-based individuals within the ranks of the Daesh terrorist group [which] shows that this organisation intends to make combatants of women”.
While this marks the first time women have assumed the combatant role in France, it is not a novel development for the likes of Syria and Iraq.
It was 11 years ago, in November 2005, that Muriel Degauque, a Belgian convert to Islam, became the first western female suicide bomber when she detonated explosives in an attack on an Iraqi police patrol near Baghdad, killing five police officers.
Al-Qaeda in Iraq, which morphed into the Islamic State, has organised several suicide attacks carried out by female bombers.
“Women inside Daesh should not be looked upon as sort of innocent bystanders, because many are very committed, provide support roles, logistic roles, smuggling and passing messages,” Mr Molins said. –