French hunt alleged female suicide attacker

Various news sources are reporting that the French authorities are on the hunt for a woman who threatened to blow herself up in  a ‘busy part of Paris’. Apparently a specific threat has been confirmed, based on intelligence received from a North African source that an Algerian was planning to attack French public transport., specifically on Thursday of this week. Presumably this threat originates from al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), though I can’t recall them using female attackers before. The French have been on heightened alert for some time, with bomb scares at the Eiffel Tower and a metro station last the week. The Guardian reports that:

France fears the threat is heightened by the return to France of Islamist extremists who have been waging jihad in Afghanistan and Iraq. There is also anger over the planned ban on wearing the burqa in public places, the presence of French troops in Afghanistan, and a French commando attack on an al-Qaida base in Mali in July, which led to the death of seven members of the organisation’s north African branch.

Female suicide bomber in Grozny

A suicide attack in Grozny has injured six police officers. The female attacker detonated herself when approached by two policemen on the main street (renamed Putin Street – that must rankle somewhat) in the capital. This is the latest in a string of attacks by Chechen militants in the region, as referred to in this earlier post. It appears that a new suicide bombing campaign is underway in Russia. It remains to be seen if the attacks will remain localized within the Chechen and Ingush regions or whether the campaign will spread to Moscow, as with a series of earlier attacks on the Moscow Metro, airliners and trains.