Police in France foiled an Easter Sunday terror plot just hours before the Islamist attack was planned.
Authorities arrested an 18-year old girl, her mother, and her three sisters after a Holy Saturday raid uncovered explosives and Islamic State paraphernalia at their home, Breitbart reported.
Five arrests made in foiled Easter terror plot
The General Directorate of Internal Security (DGSI) carried out the search after the 18-year old suspect made social media posts pointing to an imminent attack on a church in Montpellier.
At the residence in Beziers, police found chemicals for making bombs and instructions on rigging the devices, along with Islamic State materials and a sword, Le Parisien reported. Bottle devices filled with marbles were also found. Neighbors told the paper the family kept to themselves.
The woman is reportedly of Moroccan origin and was motivated by Islamic State propaganda to attack Christians on their holiest day, according to Moroccan intelligence, which took credit for helping to stop the attack. She had reportedly planned to use the sword.
Separately, CBS reported the suspect had been known to “boast” about watching Islamic State’s videos.
“Thank you to the DGSI and its agents who protect the French every day,” French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said.
Islamist terror threatens France
France has been the site of Islamist terrorist attacks and stabbings over the years, some targeting churches. Authorities foiled a 2016 plot by five women to attack Notre Dame. That same year, Islamists murdered a Catholic priest.
The terror wave has inspired a backlash against mass migration from the Arab world that has influenced French politics. President Emmanuel Macron has spoken out against the threat Islamist “separatism” poses to France and its liberal values, and he recently passed a bill targeting extremism.
Beziers Mayor Robert Menard described the Devèze neighborhood as “a difficult district affected by massive immigration” to the Le Figaro newspaper.