Tagged: Charlie Hebdo

Islamic State claims its ‘soldier’ took hostages in southern France

(THE LONG WAR JOURNAL) — By Thomas Joscelyn

French authorities have ended a hostage crisis that began earlier today when an armed man held up a supermarket in Trèbes. The French government has identified the assailant as Redouane Lakdim, who had a criminal past and may have traveled to Syria.

The attacker reportedly killed at least three people during the course of the day’s events. The first victim was killed when he attempted to hijack a car and two more perished inside the supermarket, according to the Associated Press.

The Islamic State’s Amaq News Agency quickly claimed responsibility for the slayings, saying the perpetrator was a “soldier” of the group who acted in response to calls to target nations participating in the anti-ISIS coalition. France is a member of the international coalition, which has been targeting the so-called caliphate since 2014.

Amaq has employed identical language after attacks in the past, repeatedly claiming that individuals have heeded the Islamic State’s calls for violence inside the West. Amaq did not provided any additional details about the attacker, but initial press reports say he claimed allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s enterprise.

French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb provided updates on the hostage crisis via his official Twitter feed. Collomb praised the “heroism” of a French officer who volunteered to trade places with one of the hostages, adding that the policeman was “badly wounded.” Collomb told the press that Lakdim acted “alone” and had been shot by the police, according to BFMTV. However, it can often take time for authorities to follow all of the clues in terrorism-related cases. And officials have uncovered ties between jihadists in Europe and Islamic State networks on multiple occasions in the past.

According to BBC News, Lakdim demanded the release of Salah Abdeslam, an Islamic State member who acted as a point man for the Nov. 2015 attacks in Paris. Abdeslam is being tried in Belgium on terrorism charges.

Islamic State-connected attacks in France

France has been combating the jihadist threat since the 1990s, but the rise of the Islamic State in 2014 generated a new array of threats.

In Jan. 2015, the Kouachi brothers massacred the staff of Charlie Hebdo at the magazine’s offices in Paris. The Kouachis were openly loyal to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which claimed responsibility for the attack. AQAP had called on jihadists to strike Charlie Hebdo after the publication printed controversial images. AQAP also assisted at least one of the brothers.

Amedy Coulibaly, a friend of the Kouachis, decided to raid a kosher market in Paris around the same time they acted. Coulibaly swore allegiance to the Islamic State in a video he recorded prior to killing a French policewoman and assaulting the market.

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A warning about Islam: “Hey, have you heard the one about the T-Rex at Fifth and Main?”

IT GOES LIKE THIS: Two men at the corner of Fifth and Main are engrossed in conversation. As they jabber away, one of them looks over the shoulder of the other and sees a Tyrannosaurus Rex coming down Main Street. He says to his friend, “Hey, there’s a Tyrannosaurus Rex coming our way!” The other guy says, “Oh, come on, that’s impossible,” and he resumes talking about what he was talking about. The other man says, “I’m not kidding. Just turn around and look for yourself.” But his friend is adamant. “Don’t be silly,” he says. By then the man who sees what’s coming is frantic because the monster is getting closer and closer. In exasperation, he says, “Look, all you gotta do is turn around, and you will see for yourself what I’m talking about!” But the other man crosses his arms and says in a scornful voice, “I refuse to listen to this nonsense.” By then the T-Rex is up behind him, and with its massive jaws wide open it sinks its teeth into him and swallows him whole. The other man, meanwhile, runs off to look for a gun and rally people to defend themselves against the monster. Read more »