An update on this story. Next questions: Who helped her? And where is she now? The report does not say she is in custody.
Note also a little-reported statistic on the surge in attacks on Jewish targets in France this year. “Foiled: woman bomber’s plot to blow herself up in central Paris,” by Ian Sparks for the Evening Standard, September 20 (thanks to Thomas Pellow):
A female suicide bomber plotted to blow herself up in Paris last week, French spy agencies have revealed.
Intelligence services uncovered and thwarted the threat which was planned for a “busy part of Paris” on Thursday, RTL radio said.
French domestic intelligence chief Bernard Squarcini warned at the weekend that France’s burka ban had “seriously increased” the risk of a major terrorist attack.
Mr Squarcini said “all the red lights were flashing” over the likelihood that Islamist extremists would bomb French cities.
The risk was as high as in 1995 when a bomb planted by Algeria’s Armed Islamic Group killed eight and wounded 80 more at the Saint-Michel Metro station.
Gee, then that wasn’t about 9/11, or NATO troops in Afghanistan, or cartoons, or burqa bans…
Mr Squarcini warned: “France’s role in Afghanistan, its foreign policy and the debate over the law banning the burka have all increased the risk.”
The grievances du jour will come and go. Ultimately, France is in trouble for being French — free, secular, and proud of it.
The alert over the female suicide bomber was revealed to RTL radio on Monday. The station said: “The intelligence service learned last Wednesday night that a female suicide bomber was plotting to commit a terrorist act in a busy part of Paris on Thursday.
“The intelligence came from agents in Africa and was immediately transmitted to the offices of the president and prime minister. From six in the morning on Thursday the terror alert status was raised and mobile anti-terrorist units began searching for the suspect.”
In the interview, Mr Squarcini said French authorities foiled an average of two planned attacks per year, but added: “One day or another, we’re going to get hit.
“The risk of a terrorist attack on French soil has never been higher and that objectively, there are reasons for worry.”
France passed a new law banning the burka last week, leading to threats of revenge from radical Islamist groups.
Leaders of al Qaeda’s North African network wrote on an extremist website: “We will seek dreadful revenge on France by all means at our disposal, for the honour of our daughters and sisters.”
French interior minister Brice Hortefeux said security had been stepped up around Jewish institutions in Paris after the arrest of a terrorist who planned to bomb an Israel defence forces fundraising event.
He said there had been 47 physical attacks against Jewish institutions in France this year, and another 190 threats.