French officials arrested three women Thursday night who had been plotting an attack on a major transit hub in Paris. The women may have been motivated to carry out the attack after recent airstrikes in Syria killed Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the chief spokesman of the Islamic State group, according to media reports.
French interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, said the women were "radicalized and fanaticized" and were preparing "new and imminent violent action" at Gare de Lyon subway station, the Guardian reported Friday. The women, aged 19, 23 and 39, were also linked to a recent planned attack at the Notre Dame cathedral last weekend after they left a car packed with gas cylinders near the French landmark.
The 19-year-old French woman was identified by Associated Press as Ines Madani. She had previously looked into moving to Syria to join the Islamic State group and had reportedly written a letter pledging allegiance to the militant also known as ISIS, according to officials.
Police were investigating Friday whether the women have ties to recent terrorist attacks in France. The woman were preparing to carry out the attack Thursday at Gare de Lyon, one of the busiest train stations in Paris.
Cazeneuve called the investigation into the planned attacks a "race against time." Terrorists have killed more than 230 people in France since January 2015.
"France is confronted with a terrorist threat of unprecedented scale," Cazeneuve said.
The showdown between the women and police quickly became violent after one of the suspects stabbed an officer. Police then opened fire on the women, wounding one of the suspects. The women shouted "Allahu Akbar" during the confrontation, Sky News reported.
"A group has been destroyed, but there are others. An attack has been foiled," French President Francois Hollande said.
ISIS vowed in 2014 to eventually carry out terrorist attacks at subway stations in New York City and Paris.
“They plan to have attacks in the metros of Paris and the U.S.,” Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi claimed at the time. “I asked for more credible information. I asked for names. I asked for details, for cities, you know, dates. And from the details I have received, yes, it looks credible.”
New York City transit users told International Business Times in March they were on alert for potential terror threats from ISIS followers.
"The big thing is to not let [terrorists] see you daunted by these kinds of things," said Dorsey Smallwood, of Houston, who was traveling with his wife through the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan. "They win when you show them you’re afraid. That’s one thing I like about New York; they refuse to let you see them afraid."