Swiss court tries ‘IS beheader’

BELLINZONA, Switzerland (AFP) — A Swiss woman faces trial Monday accused of having tried to slit the throats of two women in a department store in the name of the Islamic State jihadist group.

The 29-year-old is accused of having committed a “terrorist act” in the attack in the plush Manor store in Lugano in southern Switzerland’s Ticino region on 24 November 2020.

One of the two victims suffered a serious neck injury. The second sustained wounds on one hand and managed, with others, to control the assailant until the police arrived.

The trial takes place at the Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona in Ticino.

According to the indictment issued by the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland, the accused, who cannot be named for legal reasons, “acted wilfully and with particular ruthlessness.”

She shouted “Allahu akbar (God is greatest)” several times and “I will avenge the Prophet Mohammed,” and declared “I am here for IS,” it is alleged.

“She brutally attacked her randomly-selected victims with a knife, with the aim of killing them and thereby spreading terror throughout the population on behalf of the ‘Islamic State,’ triggering widespread reports in the media and thus propagating IS ideology,” according to the OAG.

The woman was known to the police.

After “falling in love” over social media in 2017 with a jihadist fighter in Syria, she had attempted to travel to the war-torn country to meet him, but was stopped by Turkish authorities at the Syrian border and sent back to Switzerland, it is alleged.

Police said at the time that she was then admitted to a psychiatric clinic.

The suspect is primarily charged with attempted murder and violation of laws against association with al-Qaeda, IS and related Islamist groups.

She is also charged with unlawful prostitution between 2017 and 2020.

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