French terror suspects charged over fake baby bump

An armed French soldier patrols in front of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Dec 24, 2015.
An armed French soldier patrols in front of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Dec 24, 2015.PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (AFP) - A French convert to Islam and her husband were charged on Thursday with terrorist conspiracy after police discovered a fake stomach used to make a woman appear pregnant, judicial sources said.

The couple from the southern city of Montpellier, aged 23 and 35 respectively, were placed in pre-trial custody as requested by prosecutors.

Both were handed preliminary charges of criminal conspiracy in connection with a terrorist undertaking and financing a terrorist enterprise, while the woman was also charged with plotting an individual terror attack on people.

They were arrested on Wednesday following the discovery of the homemade fake stomach, which could have been used to hide objects.

No explosives were found, but an analysis of their computer discovered they had consulted bomb-making information and photos of Islamic militants, a source close to the investigation has said.

Their arrest comes with France on high alert following the Nov 13 attacks in Paris that left 130 dead.

Police say they foiled a militant plot last week near Orleans, south-west of Paris, by two men who were planning to attack "soldiers, police and representatives of the state".