French women jihadists pose serious threat, document says

Several French women who were recruited by Islamic State (IS) to Syria over the past four years were radicalised and playing an active role in the group, a confidential document seen by Le Monde reveals.

Since women jihadists pose a serious threat to security, they should be monitored carefully on their return, the document written for magistrates says.

The document is based on findings by the French justice ministry after reviewing the hearings of women jihadists arrested over the past four years on their return from Syria.

It was previously thought that most of the women were recruited for domestic support, to serve as sex slaves and to give birth to future jihadists. But many of them told court that they were radicalised and played an active role in running the group.

Even women who were forced to join IS by their husbands spoke passionately about their jihadist projects when interviewed after returning to France, Le Monde said.

Most women said they joined IS because they detested the West and were drawn to the concept of Caliphate. Many of them later fled Syria as male members indulged in extreme violence against them.

Radicalised women at home who have not been able to travel abroad and join the caliphate pose the greatest threat, the document says.

Over the past four years, 22 of them have been arrested for their involvement in plans to carry out 12 terrorist attacks in France.

Of the 72 women who have returned to France, 26 have been indicted while 15 have been arrested awaiting trial and six have been tried.