Risk of attack in a church: The terrifying search for Leila, an 18-year-old teenager, in Béziers

The essentials The 18-year-old girl, who was arrested in Béziers in early April, planned terrorist actions against the Catholic community. Fascinated by ultra-violence, she shows a very disturbing profile.

Sketches of pistols and knives, swastikas, explosives production diagrams, a drawing of a Daesh member with a decapitated head … With this sentence in the diary: “Léila, I will have your blood”. The results of the search that was carried out in the apartment of Leila B., 18, in Béziers are shaking your back.

This young woman, a little over 18 years old, was arrested with several family members in Béziers in the sensitive Devèze district in early April. Emergency surgery. After lengthy investigations by the Parisian, the DGSI (General Directorate for Internal Security) had just learned that “a young Frenchman who is converting to Islam” would attack Montpellier or Strasbourg with a saber in a church in Paris on Easter weekend.

The warning came from the Moroccan security services. The nickname the teenager used on the Telegram social network was the same as a Twitter account reported to the Pharos Police Platform in March last year for posting an ISIS video about the execution of hostages. The IP address used led to the house of Leila B’s mother in Béziers.

Also read: Béziers: Five women suspected of attempting to commit an attack were arrested

Emergency Counter Terrorism

On April 4 at 1:55 a.m., the DGSI police and the raid broke the door to the living room in Béziers. As they enter the teenager’s room, they discover photos of the mutilated body of Samuel Paty, the teacher who was murdered in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine in 2020, according to a Paris report. On the floor are bottles of sulfuric acid, acetone, denatured alcohol or electrical wires: elements that can be used to make TATP, the explosive that the jihadists use. The police even discovered the beginning of assembly of an explosive device connected to a cell phone battery. There is a 12 inch knife on the young woman’s bed. And posters of the burning World Trade Center stick out on the wall.

Locked in her room for two years

When the police arrest Leila, her sisters, and her mother, it is the teenager who interests investigators. Her father is the third in a family of five. He is an alcoholic and seriously ill. The family has a disadvantaged social background. Leila was taking CAP “fashion professions” courses at a high school in Béziers but had been expelled two years earlier. Since then, she has spent her days locked in her room. His family couldn’t enter.

Fascinated by ultra-violence

According to the portrait of the Parisian, Leila is “a young girl in need”. She visits “Gore” websites, watches videos of shootings in the US or beheadings by Daesh and is fascinated by death and extreme violence. In custody she confessed to the police: “I like it when people are beheaded, the person who suffers, who cuts off their head, death”.

During their search, the police found a detailed map of his former high school in Béziers, but also of his building with targets and a drawing of a revolver. “Around 9-10 am I will kill one of my neighbors and then decide whether I will kill three other neighbors (…). After I go to high school and start the massacre, I’ll be blown up. Destroy things, kill all people on my way, “she wrote in her diary, according to comments from Le Parisien.

There is also a diagram on the last pages of his notebook showing the location of a church in Béziers with opening times and peak hours.

Also read: Women suspected of the attack in Béziers: churches of Montpellier in the viewfinder?

A target church?

Did Leila B. want to take action against a church on Easter weekend? If the DGSI feared a possible action in Montpellier or Strasbourg, this is due to the conversations that were intercepted in the telegram between Leila and radicalized people. So on March 31st she wrote to a correspondent who could be a jihadist in Syria: “Christians, I will kill them. Cut heads. I will kill the people of the Church, yes Montpellier in France.” She also spoke to a man who said he was in Turkey and wanted to attack a church or synagogue with weapons.

In police custody, Leila confessed to the police: “I wanted to build a bomb with the TATP. I wanted to bring this bomb into the church. I had not yet decided when to detonate it, neither the time nor the time. The date” . The one who was detained as a “non-practicing Muslim” said she wanted to “attract attention” and “scare people”.

Leila B. was charged on April 8th with “criminal terrorist organization”. She was taken into custody. Your sisters and mother are out of the question.

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