French prosecutors have placed three young women under formal investigation over a foiled attack near Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

Ines Madani, 19, Sara Hervouet, 23, and Amel Sakaou, 39, were brought before anti-terrorism judges on Monday. The women are suspected of plotting to blow up a car packed with gas canisters last week, and of having ties to so-called Islamic State (IS). Another woman, Ornella G, 29, is already being investigated in the case.

The car with its licence plates removed and hazard lights on was found on 4 September, prompting an urgent police search.

The three women were remanded in custody after being interviewed on Monday, and placed under investigation for involvement in a terrorist conspiracy. French authorities believe they also planned to strike a train station in the Paris area or to target police, AFP news agency reported. Investigators say the women were directed by IS handlers in Syria, Le Parisien newspaper reported.

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Image courtesy of AFP