A court in France sentenced five women accused of planning a car bomb attack on Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris three years ago to at least 25 years in prison on Monday.
After 16 days of hearings and deliberation of more than ten hours, the special court announced its verdict in the Voltaire room of the former headquarters of the Palace of Justice in Paris, according to French daily Le Figaro.
The prosecution described the defendants, aged between 22 to 42 as a “terror commando of young women who were fully receptive to the deadly ideology of the Islamic State”.
The women are said to have parked a car loaded with six gas cylinders on the night of the 3rd to the 4th of September 2016 near Notre-Dame. The two main defendants, Inés Madani, 22, and Ornella Gilligmann, 32, had doused a grey Peugeot 607 with diesel in the middle of the night and tried but failed to set it alight with a cigarette. The court heard that if it had exploded it would have caused a devastating firebomb and killed or injured at least 60 people in a nearby bar.
They were arrested a few days later in the suburbs of Paris. It was the first terrorist operation reported in France by an all-female terror cell.
The case raised awareness of the role of women captured and radicalised by jihadist networks
Three of the women who are on the bench offered strong resistance when they were being arrested. They carried kitchen knives and attacked the agents, one of whom was injured. Ines Madani was shot several times before being restrained.