French officials arrested three “radicalized” women, who authorities said were likely plotting an imminent attack, after police discovered a car loaded with gas canisters near the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris last weekend.
“These three women aged 39, 23, and 19 had been radicalized, were fanatics and were in all likelihood preparing an imminent, violent act,” French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said during a press conference.
Since Tuesday, a total of seven people in connection to investigations into the potential terrorist attack have been detained.
“An alert has been issued to all stations but they had planned to attack the Gare de Lyon on Thursday,” an interior ministry official said Friday, referring to the train station southeast of the capital, less than 3 kilometers from the cathedral.
The 19-year-old woman, Ines Madani, who reportedly stole her father’s car for a trial run of the attack, stabbed a police officer with a knife during the arrest. She was then shot and wounded by another police officer.
Police suspected Madani of conspiring to fight for ISIS in Syria prior to the arrest. The French interior ministry said she had written a letter pledging allegiance to the Islamic State terror group.
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The car, a Peugeot 607, was found Saturday night devoid of registration plates and with its hazard lights flashing. It was laden with six full gas cylinders and three jerry cans filled with diesel fuel, but no detonator.
Police also discovered papers with Arabic writing in the vehicle.