The main female suspect in an investigation into the case of a suspicious car filled with gas cylinders abandoned in Paris had pledged allegiance to the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group, French officials said Friday.
The 19-year-old woman, Ines Madani, was arrested with two other female suspects aged 23 and 39 in the suburb of Boussy-Saint-Antoine, south of Paris, on Thursday. Police shot and injured Madani after she stabbed one officer in the stomach.
She is believed to be the daughter of the owner of the Peugeot 607 which had six gas cylinders, one of them empty, and had been abandoned near the highly popular Notre Dame cathedral on September 4. Police, however, found no detonators in the vehicle, which also included three bottles of diesel fuel.
A source working with the probe said Madani had pledged allegiance to Daesh in a letter found in her possession.
The three women "were apparently preparing new, violent and, what is more, imminent actions," French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Friday, adding they were "radicalized and fanaticized."
French President Francois Hollande said on Friday during a visit to Athens, "An attack has been foiled," adding, "A group has been destroyed." The president warned "There are others."
The car, which had no number plates and had its hazard lights flashing, was noticed by a bar employee working near Notre Dame.
Police also arrested the boyfriend of one of the three women on Thursday.
Four other people, two brothers and their girlfriends, have also been held over the case.
Security services issued a warning on Thursday about a possible assault on train stations in Paris and the suburb where the women lived, according to a police source.
France remains on high alert since January last year. The country has witnessed terrorist attacks, mostly claimed by Takfiri terrorists based in the Middle East. Dozens of people were killed on a night in Paris in November 2015, while 86 people were killed two months ago when a truck rammed into a crowd in a southern resort in Nice.
French intelligence services warned recently that terrorists might use new tactics by leaving explosive devices near sites that attract large crowds, especially those visited by foreign tourists. They said the “new form of attack” could trigger huge casualties while the perpetrator could escape unharmed.
The French interior minister told La Presse daily on Friday that authorities had detained 260 people linked to terrorist networks or operations since the beginning of 2016.