French police on Wednesday arrested a 15-year old suspected of planning an attack and using encrypted social media channels to communicate with a French Islamist militant believed to be in Syria or Iraq.
In an operation led by France’s domestic intelligence agency, police swooped on the teenager in Paris’ eastern 20th arrondissement. Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve confirmed the operation: “We’re working with extreme intensity to identify those we think are likely to carry out an attack,” he told reporters, adding that Islamic State was recruiting “younger and younger individuals”.
It is the second time a 15-year-old minor suspected of plotting to kill in the name of Islamic State has been arrested in five days. Both youngsters have used Telegram to communicate with Rachid Kassim, an Islamic State jihadist of French nationality. Their arrests follow the detention of three women, including a 19-year-old, who had allegedly wanted to attack a Paris railway station using a car laden with gas cylinders.
France is reeling from a wave of militant attacks on its territory that have killed more than 230 people since January, 2015. The attacks have varied in style and profile of killer: a squad of suicide bombers and gunmen who killed 130 people, a Tunisian who killed 86 people when he drove his truck through a crowd and two militants who knifed to death an elderly priest at his altar in a church in northern France.