ISIL in Syria urged hit in France: Paris prosecutor
An individual arrested in France on suspicion of planning a terrorist attack in the European country has said he was given orders by the Takfiri ISIL terrorist group in Syria to “hit on the ground in France,” a prosecutor says.
Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said on Friday that a 17-year-old suspect, identified only as Ismael K., had told investigators that an ISIL militant fighting against the government in Syria had told him via social media to carry out an attack on French territory.
According to reports, Ismael K. had come into contact with the ISIL militant earlier and had decided to join the Takfiri group in Syria. Ismael’s mother had then noticed the communications and notified French authorities, who put her son under surveillance and saw to it that he would not be able to leave France.
Ismael, who had learned of the surveillance after being interviewed by officials, engaged in “encrypted messaging” with the ISIL member.
“There was in particular an exchange between Ismael K. and an individual currently fighting with IS (ISIL) in Syria who – given it was impossible for him to leave France – told him to ‘hit on the ground in France,’” Molins said.
Ismael K. was arrested on Monday along with three others on suspicion of “planning to commit a terrorist act,” said to be an attack on a military base in southern France planned for some time in late 2015 or early 2016.
France in the crosshairs
In January this year, a series of attacks in and around the French capital of Paris claimed the lives of at least 17 people.
The blood-stained wooden floor is seen inside the offices of French weekly Charlie Hebdo following a terrorist attack on January 7, 2015.
A terrorist attack on the Paris offices of French magazine Charlie Hebdo left 12 people dead on January 7. Another policewoman was also killed by the suspects.
In a separate incident in Paris on January 9, a suspect took a number of people hostage in a market and killed at least four of them.
In another terrorist attack on June 26, a reportedly ISIL-linked suspect beheaded his 54-year-old boss before driving his van into gas cylinders at the US-owned Air Products factory in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier near Lyon in France.
Militant chickens coming home
France has been accused of supporting the militant groups fighting against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Hundreds of European citizens, including French nationals, have joined the ranks of the Takfiri militants fighting against the Damascus government.
Paris has identified 1,850 French citizens or individuals living in France as being “implicated” in radical militant networks, including 500 in Syria or Iraq, where the ISIL is mainly operating.
On Thursday, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said, “We are facing a terrorist threat that we have never seen before – an external threat and an internal threat,” referring to the potential return of the battle-hardened French militants to their home country.
Observers see the terrorist threat faced by France as a direct result of Paris’ support for the radical militants in the Middle East.