A UK court has convicted an 18-year-old female Islamist of plotting a terrorist attack in London. Safaa Boular, a member of an all-women Islamist terror cell, was found guilty of plotting suicide attacks on country’s foreign intelligence service MI6 and the British Museum.

The court sentence made Boular the youngest female to be charged with a terror offense in the UK. According to UK media reports, she was planning to ‘wear a suicide belt’ during the attack. Her mother and elder sister have also been charged for their involvement in the plot. All three now face ‘lengthy jail sentences’ for their role in ISIS terror plot, UK newspaper Daily Mail disclosed.

The girl initially planned to become an ISIS ‘jihad bride’ and tried to leave for Syria. The UK immigration authorities barred her from leaving the country following an airport security check in August 2016. Undeterred by the setback, she began scouting for potential targets on British soil.

UK newspaper The Independent covered the court proceedings leading up to the Monday’s conviction:

An 18-year-old woman has been found guilty of plotting a terrorist attack in London as part of the UK’s first known all-women Isis cell.

Safaa Boular, who planned a grenade and gun attack on the British Museum, became the country’s youngest convicted female terror plotter.(…)

Safaa Boular enlisted her sister, fellow Isis supporter Rizlaine Boular, 22, after Safaa was remanded in custody over an attempt to travel to Syria. Their mother, Mina Dich, 44, was also involved in discussions.

Both the 22-year-old and the 44-year-old from Vauxhall, south London, pleaded guilty to preparing acts of terrorism and will be sentenced at a later date. (…)

The senior national coordinator for counter terrorism said the case demonstrated a worrying rise in youngsters being arrested for terrorism.

“This was, without doubt, a major investigation, a proactive investigation. This involved a family with murderous intent, the first all-female terrorist plot in the UK connected to Daesh.

“It’s difficult to say if we will see more females. We have seen young children involved in martyrdom attacks. We have seen Daesh using young children.

This may be the first all-women terror cell in the UK, but ISIS has long been targeting Muslim women as potential fighters in its armed jihad against the West.

According to the German intelligence agency BfV, the ISIS has been calling on Muslim women to ‘take part in direct military operations.’ The April 2018 report explained the tactical necessity behind the call and its underlying Islamic theology:

Initially, the ISIS ensured more or less a strict division between men and women when it come to the assignment of tasks. This was in accordance with the general understanding of the traditional Islamic law [Sharia]. Women could thus take on supportive functions in the administration and the military, or in the areas of internal security, such as police brigades. They, however, were not allowed to participate in combat operations. In recent months, ISIS has changed its Jihadi narrative and has been urging women to join the jihad. In doing so, they are hearkening back to the times of the Prophet Mohammad, when women similarly took part in the jihad. [Translation by the author]

In December 2017, security forces busted an all-women Islamist network in the northwestern German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The 40-women jihadi network was aiming “to fill the gap left by their detained husbands,” German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle revealed. The gap in the Islamist leadership had emerged after many leading Muslim radicals left to country to join the ISIS in Syria or went underground fearing a crackdown by German authorities.

Returning ISIS war criminals and unregulated migration from Muslim countries already pose a serious challenge to Europe’s security. Of the 850 UK nationals who had traveled to the Middle East to join the ISIS, around 360 have returned, according to UK officials. Across Europe, the figure of ISIS returnees could be well over 1,500. Round-the-clock surveillance of these ticking time-bombs alone will tie down enormous counter-terrorism resources. Introduction of female Islamist networks to this equation will apparently make this already dangerous situation even more perilous.

Video: UK to launch tough anti-terror measures one year after London Bridge attack (June 2018)


[Cover image via YouTube]