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French police arrest mom, 4 daughters over alleged terror plot

Paris — Police in southern France have arrested four women and a girl as part of an anti-terrorist investigation into a suspected attack plot targeting the city of Montpellier. A police official in the Herault region confirmed the overnight arrests in the city of Beziers and said Sunday that the DGSI domestic intelligence service and national anti-terrorist prosecutor's office were handling the investigation.
 
Investigators centered on an 18-year-old woman living in a housing project in Beziers who is suspected of plotting an attack targeting nearby Montpellier, according to Mayor Robert Menard. The 18-year-old's mother and three sisters were also arrested, including one who is a minor, he said.
 
The 18-year-old had "boasted" to neighbors about watching Islamic State videos, Menard told The Associated Press, though he said he didn't know whether she or her family had been on authorities' radar for radicalism.
 
Menard, who was alerted by police to the operation, said he spoke with rattled neighbors at the scene.
 
"They're horrified. They fear it gives a bad image of this neighborhood, and the Muslim community here," he said.

France has faced a series of terror attacks carried out by Islamic extremists since the deadly 2015 assault on the office of the Charlie Hebdo magazine and a Jewish supermarket.

Last year police arrested three people in connection with a deadly attack in Nice, part of a spate of killings that included the beheading of a teacher in a Paris suburb.      

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