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How the young Ines Madani became the jihadist Abu Souleyman

Inès Madani appeared before the 16th chamber of the Paris Criminal Court – BENOIT PEYRUCQ / AFP

In the documentary broadcast on Canal + in 2016, Soldiers of Allahshe only plays a second role. A veiled shadow twice charged by a mysterious jihadist to send a letter to the members of a group of radicalized young people discussing Telegram, driven by the desire to die as a martyr in France or in France.
Syria. From Raqqa, Abu Souleyman gives them instructions and advice and shares his combat experience. They still do not know it, but in reality Abu Souleyman and Ines Madani
are one and the same person.

Why did this young woman with a baby face usurp the "kunya" – the name that jihadists take – of a man to communicate with them? "If I had a (Facebook) account of a woman, I could not have talked with men," she says on Thursday, in the box of the 16th chamber of the Paris Criminal Court, where she compared for criminal conspiracy with two other people. Gray waistcoat, white shirt, hair tied in a bun, she tells the court how and why Inès became, in 2015, Abu Souleyman.

The meeting with Abu Barou

It all begins when, in January of the same year, her friend Anissa S. decides to go to Syria with her son Ibrahim, nine months. The two young women are "very close". Ines keeps the child when her mother works, even if she does not go to her Arabic classes. From time to time, she "helps" the young mother by giving her some money that she has put aside. "I was under his influence. Anissa S. does not forget to give him news. Based in Raqqa, the capital of the Islamic State, she married a fighter and fell pregnant again.

She tries to convince Ines to join her. Even without being married, she could find her place, taking care of children for example. "There were a lot of orphans," she breathes. But the native of Seine-Saint-Denis has "not at all" want at this time to make the trip to Syria. Anissa S. will then put her in touch "with people on the spot". Including a certain Oumar Diaw nicknamed Abu Barou. Born in 1981, this jihadist is subscribed to the legal section, as evidenced by the length of his locker. Ines Madani, whose esteem has been eroded by a chaotic school career and conflict with her parents, is "flattered" to talk to a "brave" Daesh fighter.

"He let me totally manage it"

Very quickly, he asks him to recruit people to go to Syria or to commit attacks in France. "The best thing is that the men stay in France" to bloody the country, he told him. Abu Barou knows how to talk to him, he gives him "confidence". So she follows her instructions to the letter. To fulfill her mission and get in touch with aspiring terrorists, she uses the Facebook account that the jihadist used under the pseudonym Abu Souleyman. "He let me totally manage it," she told the president of the court, Isabelle Prévost-Desprez. "At first, it was weird, after I got used to it. "

Ines Madani – or rather Abu Souleyman – then manages to integrate a group of radicalized youth on encrypted Telegram messaging. Abu Barou told him "we had to take advantage of this, the group was already done". This is a band that a director infiltrated and filmed in hidden camera for several months. Abu Souleyman – and therefore Abu Barou through Ines – takes more and more importance in the cell, to the point that he eventually co-directs. But many of its members are challenged by the DGSI after the attacks of 13-November, preventing them from realizing their deadly project.

Attempted bombing in front of Notre Dame

Among them, Medhi Boury and Cüneyt Kolankaya, also judged this week. Ines Madani, she passed through the cracks. From the summer of 2016, she has no news of Abu Barou. She then gets in touch with another jihadist with the tenacious black legend, Rachid Kassim. It was he who inspired Inès and four other women when they tried, in vain,
to ignite a car full of gas cylinders and sprinkled with gas oil, in September 2016, near the Notre-Dame cathedral.

Once again, it was by using the pseudonym of Abu Souleyman that she managed to seduce Ornella Gilligmann, the young woman who organized with her the attempt of attack. Arrested a few days later, they will be judged this fall. As for her friend Anissa S., Inès Madani does not know what she has become. "Maybe she's dead …" The trial continues Friday. The three defendants incur ten years in prison.

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French jihadist Ines Madani tried for criminal conspiracy to terrorist


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