French special forces have been tracking jihadists in the Sahara since 2013. France was also the first European country to join the U.S. air strikes on ISIS in Iraq last year and is the only European country that joined the U.S. air campaign in Syria. Over the weekend, ISIS and its supporters made declarations asserting that France is paying the price for its military action in the Middle East.
France has a colossal problem on its hands. This past summer, French President Francois Hollande revealed that intelligence services were uncovering evidence of new terrorist plots every week. Moreover, ISIS’ declaration of an Islamic caliphate has inspired a generation of French jihadists “and they have been enraged by French strikes against the group in Syria and Iraq.”
And while surveillance files have been opened on upwards of 5,000 suspected Islamic terrorists in France, French security services only have the manpower to surveill a small percentage of them, around the clock. CNN reports that, “throughout Europe, more than 6,000 extremists are estimated to have traveled to Syria and Iraq, with 1,500 having returned.” The United States faces similar challenges, with open ISIS-related cases in all 50 states– and, without the personnel and resources to handle it.
In the midst of this, and the recent attacks on France, jihadist warnings to the West have been issued. ISIS has promised much more is to come.
Following the attacks, two chilling warnings were issued via the ISIS-affiliated Al-Battar Media Foundation. Ghost Security (GhostSec), an Internet counterterrorism group, came across two documents on the Internet which not only praise the attacks on France, but also warn of more attacks on the West. Revenge for French action in Iraq is mentioned, in addition to France’s history, which is referred to as a disaster for humanity. The ISIS affiliate makes it clear that they do not fear any action France may take in response to the attacks.
Soon the battle will be transferred to our countries, one communication warned.
In a document entitled “A Statement on the Blessed Onslaught in #Paris against the Crusader Nation of #France,” it is written that France and all nations “following its path” will continue to be at the top of ISIS’ target list.
In yet another document found on JustPaste.It, roughly translated as “In the name of God bombs words, intercontinental,” the following statement was issued in regard to recent acts against Russia and France: “And tomorrow in Britain and America.” It is also put forth that Friday’s attack does not avenge all the killing the West has done in the Middle East. These statements were issued by a writer, with ties to the Islamic State caliphate, who calls himself Sultan Sanjar.
Over the weekend, Anonymous-affiliated GhostSec worked on examining threats reported on the group’s website and relaying serious potential threats to the authorities. It is now known that the plot against France included ISIS propaganda posted online, prepared in advance, which included threats against Russia, Rome, London and Washington D.C. The team of hacktivists will continue working on intel collection and threat analysis, related to the Paris attacks, and has requested that anyone who comes across any relevant information concerning Paris prior to the attacks, report it to Ghostsec.org.