PARIS (Reuters) – A French court on Monday handed down sentences of at least 25 years in jail for two women with ties to Islamist militants who made a failed attempt to set off a crude car bomb outside Paris’s Notre-Dame cathedral three years ago, Le Figaro newspaper reported.
One of the women enticed her fellow defendant to join the plot by posing online as a male Islamist militant who had returned from Syria and was seeking a bride, French media reported.
At dawn on Sept. 4 2016, police found a grey Peugeot 607 with no number plate, laden with seven gas cylinders and three jerry cans of diesel, parked in a Left Bank street close to Notre-Dame in the centre of Paris.
Investigators concluded from cigarette butts and a petrol-soaked blanket that there had been a failed attempt to set off an explosion.
Fingerprints left behind at the scene led to two people: Ines Madani and Ornella Gilligmann. According to prosecutors, they had parked the car after sending a video claiming responsibility for the planned attack to Rachid Kassim, a French member of the Islamic State group.
The court on Monday gave a jail sentence of 30 years to Madani, who had posed as a male jihadi, and 25 years to Gilligmann, a married mother of three, Le Figaro reported. Two other women who acted in concert with Madani and Gilligmann were given 20 years in jail.
Kassim was sentenced in absentia to life in jail, according to Le Figaro. Lesser sentences were given to another three people for helping the plotters or failing to report a crime.
Paris has been rocked by Islamist violence in the past few years.
(Reporting by Benoit Van Overstraeten and Sophie Louet; Editing by Christian Lowe and Cynthia Osterman)