Ter­ror plot high­lights role of fe­male ji­hadists

The Myanmar Times - - World -

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They were once con­fined to do­mes­tic tasks but that view is now out of date and they are now also viewed as “fight­ers”.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. –

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