France's 'first all-female ISIS cell' allegedly sought to strike Eiffel Tower

The four-woman jihadi group's leading member was arrested last week in connection to an explosives-laden car found near another Paris landmark - the Notre Dame cathedral.

September 13, 2016 15:02
1 minute read.
French police

French police officers [Illustrative]. (photo credit: REUTERS)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


Authorities have reportedly uncovered the first all-female Islamic State cell in France after several suspects were detained over alleged plans to attack the Eiffel Tower.

The four-woman cell's purported leading member was arrested last week in connection to an explosives-laden car found near another Paris landmark - the Notre Dame cathedral.

The leading suspect, an alleged 29-year-old mother-of-three was named as Ornella Gilligman. She reportedly told French authorities that her jihadi cell had preferred to target the iconic Eiffel Tower, and not in fact the cathedral.

The other three members of France's purported first all-female ISIS cell were supposedly named as Ines Madani, 19, Sarah Hervouet, 23, and Amel Sakaou, 39. As of Sunday, authorities were still questioning the three.

On Friday, the Paris prosecutor announced that the three women were arrested after the car was found. He said they were directed by Islamic State militants in Syria and were completely committed to the cause.

"A terrorist cell comprised of young women ... has been dismantled," prosecutor Francois Molins said. "They were guided by individuals in Syria in the ranks of Islamic State."
Woman detained in France after discovery of car with gas cylinders

Molins said one of the women was the former fiancee of two suspected Islamist attackers - Larossi Abballa, who killed a French police commander and the commander's partner in June of this year in Magnanville, as well as Adel Kermiche, who killed an 85-year-old priest in Saint-Etienne-Du-Rouvray along with another teenage Islamic militant in July.

Last Sunday, French authorities found the car near Notre Dame loaded with gas cylinders and jerry cans of diesel.

The finding lead to the discovery of a plot to attack a Paris railway station under the direction of Islamic State.

Seven people, including the four women, were arrested on suspicion of connection to the plot. 

One of the women, arrested on Thursday stabbed a police officer during her arrest on Thursday.

Gilligman was arrested with her partner on a motorway on Tuesday and was placed under investigation on Saturday.

The man was freed on Saturday.

The discovery of the vehicle triggered a terrorism investigation and revived fears about further attacks in a country where Islamist militants have killed more than 230 people since January 2015.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

A poster of Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah in southern Lebanon
April 23, 2019
U.S. offering $10 million for info on Hezbollah's financial mechanisms