Six Muslim coverts have been arrested in France, after police intelligence indicated the cell was days away from committing a series of attacks on swingers clubs. The group had already purchased bus tickets so they could flee to Syria.
The arrests occurred in Rhône, just outside the city of Lyon in east-central France. The suspects, five men and a woman, had converted to radical Islam and were all on the radar of French intelligence. Several were well know for actively proselytising their views on jihad and the Islamic State (IS) in the local area.
“Intelligence indicated that an attack on French soil was being prepared against swingers clubs”, a police source told BFM TV, adding that “house searches are underway”.
At least two of the group had made attempts to obtain weapons, and all had purchased bus tickets to Syria via Bulgaria and Turkey – presumably because they planned on escaping to join IS if they were not ‘martyred’ during their attack.
According to Metro News, the tickets were booked for 8th February, in less than a week’s time, indicating that the attacks were imminent.
Swingers clubs are commonly known as ‘clubs échangistes’ or ‘club libertin’ in France, and there are thought to be around 500 across the country. They serve as private meeting places for consensual sex between couples and individuals, however in recent years they have become increasingly fashionable and expensive, and act more like chic nightclubs.
Just two days ago, on Sunday the 31st of January, a blond-haired Frenchman appeared in the latest IS propaganda video, threatening new terrorist attacks in the west that will “make them forget September 11 and Paris”.
France is still reeling from two terrorist attacks in the country last year, including the series of attacks in January 2015 on the satirical publication Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket, and the November shootings and suicide bombings which killed 130 in Paris. Both were committed by jihadists including French and Belgian citizens.