A woman with a “fake pregnancy” belly has been detained in France on suspicion of planning to carry out a suicide bombing.
The woman, who police have described as being 23 years old and a French convert to Islam, was arrested with her husband by police in the city of Montpellier. Le Parisien names the woman as “Camille” and says her husband is of Franco-Chadian origin.
Local paper Midi Libre says investigators searched the couple’s home and found the prosthetic pregnancy belly which had been purchased online. Sources said the woman claimed she purchased the belly so she would be given preferential treatment on public transport.
However, investigators say it was coated in tin foil, a measure that could help hide a bomb from metal detectors. When asked about the foil, and why she had hollowed it out, Camille responded that it was so she could “go shoplifting” at a local shopping centre.
Sources said Camille had recently become very conservative in her religion, only going outside while wearing a full-length veil.
Police also recovered evidence the couple had watched online videos of atrocities committed by Islamic State, and had downloaded every edition of Inspire and Dabiq, the Al Qaeda and Islamic State propaganda magazines. Police described the content of the videos as “extremely disturbing”.
She had also researched female suicide bombers and explosives, and expressed a wish to die a martyr in Syria, with her husband agreeing to follow her.
The couple are now under house arrest while the investigation continues.
The arrests come as police detained two suspects in the city of Orleans on suspicion of planning an attack on police and army personnel.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said two men, aged 20 and 24, were both believe to have been in contact with another Frenchman in Syria.
“The investigation will look into whether he ordered the attacks that one of (the other two) has acknowledged targeted soldiers and police,” Mr Cazeneuve said.
France remains in a state of emergency since the Paris terror attacks last month which killed 130 people.