Safaa Boular

Safaa Boular is a British ISIS supporter who plotted to carry out an attack on the British Museum in April 2017. Boular, along with her mother and sister—Mina Dich and Rizlaine Boular—and their friend, Khawla Barghouthi, were Britain’s first all-female ISIS terror cell.Duncan Gardham and Fiona Hamilton, “Mother and daughter Mina Dich and Rizlaine Boular jailed for Isis-inspired terror plot,” The Times, June 16, 2018, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/mother-and-daughter-mina-dich-and-rizlaine-boular-jailed-for-isis-inspired-terror-plot-hz267gtrk. Boular originally sought to launch a gun and grenade attack on the British Museum, but upon her arrest, she solicited her mother and sister to carry out a knife attack near the Houses of Parliament. On August 3, 2018, Boular was sentenced to life in prison on two counts of preparation of a terrorist act.“YEAR IN REVIEW 2018: ALL-FEMALE TERROR PLOT,” Counter Terrorism Policing, December 26, 2018, https://www.counterterrorism.police.uk/year-in-review-2018-all-female-terror-plot/.

According to reports, Boular began to radicalize in 2012 when her mother began supporting jihadi causes.Dominic Casciani, “Teenager Safaa Boular jailed for life over IS terror plot,” BBC News, August 3, 2018, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-45062647. However, her relationship with her mother was tumultuous, and Boular attempted to run away from home on multiple occasions. Boular was further radicalized by the Paris terror attacks of 2015, eventually communicating with a female ISIS recruiter, Umm Isa Al-Amriki, a.k.a. Shadi Jabar, and a British-born ISIS fighter named Naweed Hussain.Dominic Casciani, “Teenager Safaa Boular jailed for life over IS terror plot,” BBC News, August 3, 2018, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-45062647.

After about a year of communicating with Hussain through Instagram, Boular and Hussain were wed in an online ceremony.Dominic Casciani, “Teenager Safaa Boular jailed for life over IS terror plot,” BBC News, August 3, 2018, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-45062647. Safaa Boular planned to join him in Syria to carry out a suicide attack. Hussain sent Boular’s older sister, Rizlaine, £3,000 to pay for both sisters’ travel arrangements to Syria. However, both fell under suspicion of U.K. Counter Terrorism Police and security services following their return from a family vacation in Morocco on August 19, 2016. Boular admitted to authorities at Stansted airport that she planned to travel to Syria to live with Hussain, leading to the seizure of both her and her sister’s passports. The sisters were later released on bail. Following this incident, security officials began to monitor Boular’s messages on Telegram.“Teenager convicted of UK terror plot,” Crown Prosecution Service, June 4, 2018, https://www.cps.gov.uk/cps/news/teenager-convicted-uk-terror-plot.; Lizzie Dearden, “Britain's youngest female terror plotter jailed for life after planning Isis-inspired attack on British Museum,” Independent, August 3, 2018, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/isis-british-museum-terror-attack-plot-safaa-boular-jailed-life-youngest-uk-tea-party-a8476416.html.

Unable to join Hussain in Syria, Hussain and Boular started to plot a grenade and gun attack against the British Museum.Dominic Casciani, “Teenager Safaa Boular jailed for life over IS terror plot,” BBC News, August 3, 2018, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-45062647. Upon news of Hussain’s death in Syria in 2017, Boular was reportedly further motivated to follow through with her terror plot.Lizzie Dearden, “Britain's youngest female terror plotter jailed for life after planning Isis-inspired attack on British Museum,” Independent, August 3, 2018, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/isis-british-museum-terror-attack-plot-safaa-boular-jailed-life-youngest-uk-tea-party-a8476416.html.; Duncan McNab, “Shadi Jabar turned from midwife student to terror recruiter, turning her own brother into a murderer,” 7 News, April 13, 2019, https://7news.com.au/news/crime/shadi-jabar-turned-from-midwife-student-to-terror-recruiter-turning-her-own-brother-into-a-murderer-c-52987.

On April 12, 2017, Boular was arrested after revealing her plans to two undercover MI5 officers. She also informed the officers of her plans to travel to Syria to carry out terror attacks. According to authorities, Boular claimed that she had an online network of up to 400 “friends” from ISIS.Lizzie Dearden, “Britain's youngest female terror plotter jailed for life after planning Isis-inspired attack on British Museum,” Independent, August 3, 2018, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/isis-british-museum-terror-attack-plot-safaa-boular-jailed-life-youngest-uk-tea-party-a8476416.html.

Although in jail, Boular continued to communicate with her mother and sister in an effort for them to proceed with a knife attack near the Houses of Parliament of the United Kingdom. The three women used Alice in Wonderland codenames to evade detection from the authorities, referring to the attack as the “Mad Hatter’s tea party.” However, on April 27, 2017, both Rizlaine Boular and Mina Dich, along with a family friend, are arrested for attempting to carry out a terror plot.Dominic Casciani, “Teenager Safaa Boular jailed for life over IS terror plot,” BBC News, August 3, 2018, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-45062647.

On August 3, 2018, Boular was sentenced to two terms of life imprisonment on charges of two counts of preparation of terrorist acts with a 13-year minimum term.Dominic Casciani, “Teenager Safaa Boular jailed for life over IS terror plot,” BBC News, August 3, 2018, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-45062647. On April 17, 2019, Boular’s sentence was reduced to an 11-year minimum term given that she was only 12-years-old when she was indoctrinated into the radicalization process.Dominic Casciani, “Teenager Safaa Boular jailed for life over IS terror plot,” BBC News, August 3, 2018, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-45062647.

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