The French anti-terror prosecutors on April 8 said that they would seek charges against an 18-year-old woman accused of plotting a jihadist attack on a church over the Easter weekend. According to the Associated Press, the woman, identified as LB, was arrested over the weekend at her home in Beziers. She was arrested as part of an anti-terrorist investigation into a suspected attack plot targeting the city of Montpellier.
On Thursday, the anti-terror prosecution unit PNAT said that the 18-year-old will now face an anti-terror magistrate on charges belonging to a criminal terrorist conspiracy and possession of explosive devices. In a statement, the unit said that the investigation had been opening following intelligence concerning the threat of an attack on a church over the Easter weekend. Further, PNAT added that during the raid on her home, police had even found an image of Samuel Paty, the schoolteacher who was killed in October 2020 after showing his class cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.
PNAT said that they also seized documents describing “several plans for violent action”, others referring to the Islamic State group and nazism, and a map of a church near her home in the southern city of Beziers. Earlier this week, Mayor Robert Menard had even said that the 18-year-old had “boosted” to neighbours about watching Islamic State videos.
Meanwhile, the row between France and Islamic nations has escalated over President Emmanuel Macron's strong clampdown on terrorism in the nation. The country remains on its highest terror alert following massacres on its territory carried out by Islamist radicals from 2015 and also a series of attacks in late 2020. The attacks included the beheading of a school teacher by a teenager originating from Russia’s southern region of Chechnya and also the October 29 knife attack on a church in the southern city of Nice by a migrant from Tunisia that left three people dead.
Back then, French President Emmanuel Macron had said that the teacher, Samuel Paty, "was killed because Islamists want their future" strongly declaring that France would "not give up its cartoons". However, in response, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had alleged that Macron "needed treatment" for his mental condition over his crackdown on terrorism, which he said was a crackdown on Islam and Muslims. Pakistan also reacted sharply by even calling back its French envoy while making a laughing stock of itself, as the country doesn't have any envoy in France.