Four teenage girls held in France as attack plot suspects

UPDATE 9pm: Three teenage girls and an 18-year-old woman have been detained in different parts of France on Tuesday as suspects in attack plots, the Paris prosecutor’s office has said.

The four teenagers are suspected of taking part in an online chat channel called "The Lionesses" through the Telegram instant messaging application, the office said.

Prosecutors allege they spoke of the possibility of preparing "violent actions".

Three of the detained teens are minors aged 14, 15 and 17. The fourth turned 18 in January, the office said.

Several French news outlets, citing unnamed judicial sources, reported the four teenagers were following the Telegram channel of Rachid Kassim, a French Islamic State fighter who was targeted in a US drone strike in early February and who is believed to have overseen multiple plots in his homeland.

A growing number of young women and teen girls have been detained in France on suspicions of plotting attacks within the country or trying to go to Iraq and Syria to join the Islamic State group.

Earlier: An 18-year-old woman has reportedly been detained in northern France over a suspected attack plot.

France 3, citing the Paris prosecutor’s office, which handles terrorism cases, said the student in her final year of high school was detained on Tuesday morning in Creil.

The TV channel, without citing sources, said the teenager was linked online to a group of girls who called themselves The Lionesses.

It also said she had had communication with Rachid Kassim, a French Islamic State fighter who was targeted in an American drone strike in early February and who is believed to have controlled multiple plots in his homeland.


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