A French journalist reportedly infiltrated a cell of jihadists in the making and recorded their activities for a documentary he was making to understand the thought process of the young men who were "manipulated" into stepping into the world of violence, the Agence France-Presse reported. He filmed the documentary film over six months using a hidden camera.
The journalist used the pseudonym Said Ramzi and interacted with the preachers of jihad on Facebook, the first step towards getting closer to Islamic extremism. He was then introduced to the "emir" of a group of over 10 young men in France's Chateauroux town.
"My goal was to understand what was going on inside their heads," the journalist told AFP. "One of the main lessons was that I never saw any Islam in this affair. No will to improve the world. Only lost, frustrated, suicidal, easily manipulated youths. They had the misfortune of being born in the era that the Islamic State exists. It is very sad. They are youngsters who are looking for something and that is what they found," he said.
The emir, Oussama, convinced the youngsters into believing that angels in heaven awaited those who carry out suicide attacks, Ramzi said, adding that Oussama would hold meetings with the group and talk about targeting French military base and journalists, like the attack on the office of French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, in January 2015.
The journalist ended his infiltration when a member of the Islamic State group asked him to carry out an attack at a night club in France. One Abu Suleiman from Raqqa had asked Ramzi to meet him at a train station, but the journalist met a burqa-clad woman instead.
She gave him a letter containing a terror attack plan. He was asked to target the night club, shoot "until death" and detonate an explosives-ridden vest when security forces arrive at the scene. However, the security forces busted the plan, and arrested all the jihadists, except one who escaped and subsequently threatened Ramzi.
"That is where my infiltration ended," Ramzi said.
The documentary, Allah's Soldiers, will be shown in France on Monday night.