Two teenage girls held over ‘ter­ror plot’

The Myanmar Times - - World -

TWO teenage girls from the French city of Nice are be­ing held on sus­pi­cion of plan­ning an at­tack di­rected by a no­to­ri­ous Syria-based French ji­hadist, a source close to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion said.

The sus­pects, aged 17 and 19, live in the same area of Nice as Mo­hamed La­houaiej Bouh­lel, the rad­i­calised Tu­nisian man who drove the truck that killed 86 peo­ple in the city on July 14.

Searches failed to find any weapons at their homes.

The teenagers told in­ves­ti­ga­tors they had been in con­tact with Rachid Kas­sim, a French ji­hadist based in ar­eas of Syria and Iraq held by the Is­lamic State group.

“They ad­mit­ted they had been plan­ning a vi­o­lent at­tack un­der the in­flu­ence of Rachid Kas­sim be­fore aban­don­ing their plans,” a source in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion said.

The 17-year-old, who was not on the in­tel­li­gence ser­vices’ radar be­fore, has ad­mit­ted “hat­ing sol­diers”, the source said. She was charged with as­so­ci­at­ing with ter­ror sus­pects.

The 19-year-old is known to in­ves­ti­ga­tors, hav­ing been in con­tact with an­other French citizen who re­cruits IS fight­ers.

Kas­sim is emerg­ing as a ma­jor con­cern for French in­ves­ti­ga­tors af­ter he was found to be in con­tact on mes­sag­ing app Tele­gram with nu­mer­ous peo­ple who have car­ried out at­tacks in France.

Kas­sim is be­lieved to have in­spired an at­tack this year in which a se­nior French po­lice­man and his part­ner were knifed to death and an­other in which an el­derly pri­est’s throat was cut.

He also di­rected three women sus­pected of seek­ing to blow up a car packed with gas cylin­ders near Notre Dame Cathe­dral in cen­tral Paris early this month.

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