A French girl faces prison after she allegedly wanted to blow up tourists around the Eiffel Tower
Identified only as Sarah Z., 16, the French youngster faces years in prison after being caught with 71g of potentially lethal explosives in her flat near Montpellier, in the south of France.
At dawn this morning she and her boyfriend – identified as Thomas S. – were driven from the HQ of France's domestic intelligence services to a specially convened terrorist court in central Paris.
She and her boyfriend were driven to a specially convened terrorist court in central Paris
Armed officers set up roadblocks and secured the area, as the couple and a third suspect were presented to an instructing judge, who opened a judicial enquiry.
It follows the couple's arrests, along with two other men, last Friday in what was described as a 'bomb factory' cellar.
Sources close to the case said Sarah lived with her divorced mother, who is of Greek origin, and two younger sisters in Clapiers, a village north of Montpellier. Last year Sarah was still at school when she “started to take an interest in radical Islam” by “looking up information on the internet”, said one prosecuting source.
The couple and two others were arrested last Friday in what was described as a 'bomb factory' cellar
Sarah's unidentified mother was unable to prevent her meeting Thomas, who was on a state security watch list, online.
The pair converted to Islam, and soon agreed to marry, but what Sarah did not know was that another of her online 'friends' was in fact working for the DGSI, France's domestic intelligence agency – the equivalent of MI5.
After she started boasting about the planned attack, the agent ordered a dawn raid on Sarah's apartment block.
It was carried out by heavily armed police special forces, who initially ended up arresting the couple alongside two other men. The 'bomb factory' was in the cellar, where Thomas had been staying.
Get Quotes on Home Insurance
The girl's mother has insisted she is 'completely innocent' and will 'soon be back home'
It included the 71 grams of the peroxide-based explosive triacetone triperoxide, or TATP. Also known as the Mother of Satan, TATP figured prominently in the suicide belts used in the 2015 IS attacks on Paris, in which 130 people were blown up or shot dead.
Sarah had recorded a video pledging her loyalty to Isis, and in interviews said the Eiffel Tower would have been her main target.
Her mother has, however, insisted she is “completely innocent” and will “soon be back home”.