French court imprisons female jihadist group for failed terror plot

A French court has sentenced a group of five female jihadists to prison for a failed plot to bomb the famous Notre Dame Cathedral three years ago.

A crowd attends a special memorial mass at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, for dozens of victims of coordinated terrorist attacks in the city on November 15, 2015. File Photo by David Silpa

Prosecutors said the women had fallen under the influence of French Islamic State supporter Rachid Kassim and recruited others for various terror plots.

Monday, Ines Madani was sentenced to 30 years and Ornella Gilligmann 25 years for plotting to set off a car filled with gas cylinders in front of the cathedral in 2016. Sarah Hervouet and Amel Sakaou, who were part of the same jihadist cell, were sentenced to 20 years — and Samia Chalel, who prosecutors said shielded Madani from authorities, was given five years.

Madani and Gilligmann, the main suspects in the all-female cell, expressed remorse in French court at their sentencing.

“I had the worst behavior,” Madani said.

France has been targeted for multiple terrorist attacks in recent years. The cell sentenced Monday is believed to be the first French prosecution to involve all women terror suspects.

The Notre Dame Cathedral was severely damaged in April by a major fire that began during renovations on the historic building.

ByClyde Hughes