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July 2, 2015 / 15 Tammuz, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘AQAP’

French Police to Get Stronger Firepower, Counter Terror Forces

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

Police in France are going to be getting better firepower and bigger backup.

Speaking in France, Prime Minister Manuel Valls told journalists (Jan. 21) his country will soon equip its police force with “stronger weapons” and hire 2,600 more counter terrorist forces, CNN reported. Police will also be empowered to tap phones, monitor web sites and force Internet companies to block hate messages posted online.

Valls also said that nearly 3,000 people in France have been identified with jihadist ties, all needing to be under surveillance. The number of people tied in to networks in Syria and Iraq, he said, has skyrocketed by 130 percent just in the past year alone.

France will allocate $490 (425 euros) over the next three years to buy new equipment such as bulletproof vests and better weapons. In addition, people charged with and/or convicted of terrorism will be required to report trips abroad and changes of address. Those who “attack the nation” may be deported or lose their French citizenship.

The announcement follows the recent terror attacks in Paris by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terror groups.

The news was announced against an attempt by the Paris prosecutor’s office to charge four men Wednesday in connection with the terror attacks that left 20 people dead. The Paris prosecutor requested the four be held longer on charges of weapons possession and participation in terrorist activities, and awaited the judge’s decision on whether to open preliminary investigations against them. If the judge agrees, the four will be the first suspects to be charged in the bloodiest terror attacks to take place in France in decades.

The four are suspected of providing logistical support to Amedy Coulibaly, a member of ISIS who was killed by police when they stormed the kosher grocery where he was holding more than a dozen shoppers and workers hostage. Coulibaly had already killed four people at the Hyper Cacher earlier in the day; he was unaware that an observant Mulim worker in the store had hidden six other shoppers in the refrigerator, saving their lives. Two AQAP terrorists, brothers Said and Hamid Kouachi, were killed by French counter terror forces at a separate location a few minutes prior in a similar hostage situation. Their attacks had been coordinated — and likewise, French counter terror attacks were coordinated to end the siege as well.

The Paris prosecutor’s office submission to the judge came just a few hours before the French government announced the new measures to beef up the nation’s counter terrorism force and strengthen its weaponry.

French newspaper Le Figaro discovered a heartbreaking bit of news, one that might have changed the future for at least some of the 20 people killed in that three-day reign of terror.

Two police officers on patrol stopped Amedy Coulibaly for a routine check on December 30, just ten days before the attack, the newspaper reported this week.  A background check showed that he was considered dangerous and belonged to an Islamist group. Furthermore, there were instructions to attempt to collect information about him without raising suspicion.

The officers reported Coulibaly to their superiors and to the anti-terror unit. However, they received no response – and as a result, they were forced to let him go free.

 

French PM Warns ‘Threat is Still Present’

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

Security officials in France say they are hunting for at least six more members of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

“The threat is still present” from last week’s terror attacks in Paris, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls told BFM television on Wednesday. “The work on these attacks, on these terrorist and barbaric acts continues . . . because we consider that there are most probably some possible accomplices.”

The terrorists were involved in last week’s attacks in Paris and are believed to include a man seen driving a car registered to Hayat Boumedienne, the widow of Amedy Coulibaly, one of the gunmen killed in Friday’s shootout.

Police are searching Paris for the Mini Cooper registered to Boumedienne, according to The Associated Press. She herself is already in Syria, according to reports from Turkish intelligence

French police sources were also quoted as saying the original terror cell was comprised of some 10 members and that “five or six could still be at large.” No names were released. A second police source said there were eight members in the cell, including Boumedienne.

As many as 10,000 military personnel have been deployed across the country to protect various sites, including iconic landmarks, strategic sites and Jewish schools and neighborhoods. Some 4,700 troops are to be assigned to protect the 717 Jewish schools in France, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Monday. “A little girl was telling me earlier that she wanted to live in peace and learn in peace in her school,” the interior minister related during a visit to a Paris Jewish class. “That’s what the government, that’s what the Republic, owes to all the children in France: security in all the schools, especially in the schools that could be threatened,” he said.

The move comes in the wake of a three-day rampage of terror that left 17 people dead and more wounded last week, including five Jews. The siege began with an attack on the offices of the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo, a satiric weekly French magazine that has published a number of irreverent caricatures of the prophet Muhammed, the founder of Islam. Also attacked was a kosher grocery, where more than a dozen shoppers were held hostage by Coulibaly, who eventually killed four before he himself was killed in the hours before the start of the Sabbath. Brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi took another hostage in a printing factory across the city until police stormed the building, forcing them to come out with guns blazing and meet their deaths.

The two brothers were members of AQAP and Coulibaly had pledged allegiance to ISIS. But Coulibaly and Cherif Kouachi knew each other from way back; they were served time in prison together in 2005. Cherif was also convicted in 2008 of holding membership in a network that sent jihadis to fight U.S. forces in Iraq. In 2010, Cherif and Coulibaly traveled together with their wives to central France to visit Djamel Beghal, a radical Islamist sentenced to 10 years in prison for terrorist activity. In 2011, Cherif’s brother Said traveled to Yemen to spend time with AQAP leader Anwar al-Awlaki and to train with AQAP terrorists.

A fourth terrorist, Hamid Mourad surrendered to police during a raid just hours after the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

Why French Jewry Cannot Afford to Sleep

Monday, January 12th, 2015

It appears the Jewish community in France has more to fear than simple anti-Semitism in Europe. Jews have often ended up in history’s crossfire when the winds of war were raging. This time appears to be no exception as the world wrestles with radical Islam.

There are two main issues that are endangering French Jewry. The first danger can be likened to the proverbial clash of the stags, so to speak. And the Jews are underfoot. Or fodder.

Al Qaeda is in competition with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), via its affiliates, each of which operates independently. An operative recruited by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, AQAP, led the first of last week’s series of terror attacks in Paris. But the siege of terror was actually carried out by two separate teams from the competing terror groups who joined together for the purpose of making a statement in France.

The first team, comprised of Cherif Koachi, 32 and his brother Said, 34, also included 18 year old Hamid Mourad and a fourth person – as yet unidentified – who drove the getaway car. That group is linked to Al Qaeda; Cherif had been recruited while on the streets and then in the jails of France. His brother Said had actually traveled to Yemen and met with AQAP leader Anwar al-Awlaki, and trained at the terrorist bases there.

The second team – that of Amedy Coulibaly and his common-law wife, Hayat Boumedienne – belongs to ISIS. Coulibaly was seen on Sunday in the traditional terror shahid (martyr) video that was produced at some time prior to carrying out the attacks. Someone – possibly Boumedienne – uploaded the video to the Twitter social networking site two days after he died in a blaze of French SWAT team gunfire.  In the video he appears to be seated below the flag of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, pledging allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The footage was authenticated by a former lawyer for the terrorist as well as by the SITE research group that tracks terrorist propaganda. “We managed to synchronize to come out at the same time. What we have done is completely legitimate, given what they have done. If you attack the caliphate, we will attack you,” Coulibaly says in the video.

It is clear that Al Qaeda and ISIS, rivals who compete for the prestige of being able to claim control over the world of terror, have nevertheless found a way to work together when the goal is worthy. This is the first instance in which the two groups are known to have collaborated on any operation.

The Jews of France are a convenient target, where it is estimated that 1,000 Muslims have left to join the jihad abroad. Those fighters are expected at some point to return – as trained terrorists.

Not so far away, in Belgium, a French terrorist with links to ISIS left a river of Jewish blood in his wake last May after slaughtering staff and visitors to the Jewish Museum of Brussels. Despite the massacre, it took months for Jewish community leaders to convince the government — the same leadership which hosts the headquarters of the European Union and the European Parliament — to increase protection to the site following the attack.

Even though France has the largest Jewish population in Europe, it is dwarfed by that of the Muslim population, which more than 10 times larger. Muslims comprise 10 percent of the population of France; 6.5 million French citizens are Muslims. Only 500,000 are Jews.

In 2012, an Al Qaeda terrorist of Algerian descent attacked a Jewish elementary school in Toulouse, murdering three children and a rabbi.

France Dual Terror Siege – 5 Hostages at Kosher Grocery, 2 Dead

Friday, January 9th, 2015

The people of France are beginning to learn what it’s like to live in the Middle East.

A dual terror siege still taking place in two locations appears to be escalating as the Sabbath approaches in Paris, and four terrorists hold numerous hostages in a kosher grocery and a printing warehouse by two sets of Al Qaeda-linked radical Islamist extremists.

At least five, and possibly as many as 15 people are being held hostage in the grocery, with multiple injuries reported, including one gravely wounded. One person is being held hostage in the printing warehouse.

This nightmare actually began with a massive bloodbath earlier in the week.

Two days ago 10 journalists and two police officers were murdered and 11 others wounded by radical Muslim terrorists at the Paris offices of the satirical weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo.

It is believed that Said Kouachi, the older of the two brothers, met and spoke with deceased Yemen-based American Al Qaeda terror leader Anwar Al-Awlaki in 2008. These attacks are believed to be carried out to avenge his death in a U.S. drone strike in 2011. Awlaki was known for training foreign terror operations.

A day later a French policewoman was shot to death as she was dealing with a traffic accident in the Montrouge section of Paris.

Amedy Coulibaly and his girlfriend Hayat Boumeddiene are suspected of carrying out that attack. It is believed the murders were related to the Charlie Hebdo attack by Al Qaeda-linked terrorists Said and Cherif Kouachi on Wednesday.

Today (Friday, Jan. 9, 2015), the nightmare was repeated, and expanded as two attacks were carried out simultaneously.

Coulibaly and Boumeddiene stormed a kosher grocery east of Paris as Jews were completing their last-minute shopping just before the start of the Sabbath. Two people were shot and killed immediately and at least five others — possibly as many as 15 — are being held hostage by the terrorists, including women and children. One is believed to be gravely wounded.

Coulibaly has told police surrounding the location he will not surrender nor hand over his hostages intact unless the Kouachi brothers are allowed to escape free. Shortly after, he added a second threat, far more grim: “Unless you let my brothers in jihad go — if you storm my brothers — I will kill the hostages here,” he told police negotiators.

Prayers are urgently requested for:

Mordechai ben Sarah
Yosef Sibony
Dominique bat Sarah
Yohan Cohen
Sarah bat Luna
Noa bat Sarah
Zari bat Suzanne
Esther bat Bnina
Noemi bat Joëlle
Sandy bat Brigitte
Sandrine Esther bat Blanche

Chabad-Lubavitch emissary Rabbi Chmouel Lubecki reports that he and other Chabad representatives all over Paris have sent SMS messages to thousands of members of the Jewish community encouraging them to light Shabbat candles and give extra charity in merit of the hostages. There are also widespread calls for prayers, acts of kindness and recital of Tehillim(Psalms) particularly Psalm 20, on behalf of the hostages.

Across town and about 25 miles northeast of Paris, the Koachi brothers have also struck again, this time taking a single hostage at CT Creation Tendance Decouverte, a printing facility, Fox News reported.

Police have surrounded the building in Dammartin-en-Goele, a small industrial town, where the two brothers are holed up, about 10 miles from Charles DeGaulle Airport. But the terrorists have allegedly to police negotiators they are ready to “die as martyrs.”

 

World Solidarity With ‘Charlie’ as MI5 Forecasts More Terror to Come

Friday, January 9th, 2015

The lights of nearly a thousand cell phones flash messages in Hebrew and French on the screens of Israelis in the cold, all proclaiming, “I am Charlie.  Israel is with Charlie.”

Hundreds stood outside of the home of French Ambassador Patrick Maisonnave on Thursday to express their support for France following Wednesday’s terror attack in Paris. Silently the demonstrators held up pens, pencils and any other writing implement they could find to signify their solidarity with the slain journalists. Another hundred stood in rainy Jerusalem to hold a two-minute “moment of silence” at the French Consulate to pay homage to the victims with “Je Suis Charlie” signs and memorial candles.

Twelve people — 10 journalists and two police officers — were slaughtered by three radical Islamist terrorists and 11 others were wounded in the attack at the Paris offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical weekly magazine.

And the head of Britain domestic intelligence agency says there’s more where that came from heading straight for Europe.

One of the three terrorists surrendered to police overnight after wide-ranging raids resulted in nine arrests. Two of the armed terror suspects, who spoke fluent, colloquial French, are still at large.

The French ambassador in Tel Aviv hosted former Israeli president Shimon Peres at a memorial for the victims. One was a Jewish, 81-year-old caricature artist of Algerian birth, Georges Wolinski.

“With a heavy heart I send my condolences to the victims’ families, they are the victims of a historical struggle against barbarism and terror,” Peres said. “I know your hearts are still bleeding but I am confident that freedom will win, that France will win.”

Similar events were held in countless cities around the world on Wednesday night and Thursday by people from all walks of life, each silently holding up a pencil or a pen.

Many media outlets questioned whether journalists would begin to “self-censor” out of fear of terrorism directed at them personally. The attackers had called out each journalist by name before shooting and killing each one on Wednesday.

The two brothers still being hunted, 34 year old Said Kouachi and his brother, 32 year old Cherif Kouachi, were both listed in the United States database of known or suspected terrorists, according to a report Thursday in The New York Times.

A senior U.S. official told journalists at a briefing that Said Kouachi traveled to Yemen in 2011 and was trained there by terrorists from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).  Both brothers were on a U.S. no-fly list for years; but they flew to Syria last year, officials said. It is possible – if not likely – they received weapons and other combat training from terrorist leaders there.

The brothers also may have received training from a French national named David Drugeon, The Daily Beast reported. Drugeon is known to the intelligence community as a top bomb builder for a Syria-based Al Qaeda unit called the Khorasan Group. The group is linked with AQAP in Yemen, and was created specifically to train foreign jihadists who travel to Syria to learn how to carry out attacks in their home countries. Drugeon survived a coalition air strike aimed at the terror group’s headquarters in Syria last year and is believed to be at large, according to the report.

An Al Qaeda magazine targeting jihadists who live in the West had, in fact, called for the assassination of Stephan Chardonnier, editor-in-chief of Charlie Hebdo – the first victim in the attack.

The attack was praised in a tweet by a Twitter account linked to AQAP and referred followers to a recent issue of “Inspire” – a magazine published by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) magazine. That group has also called for attacks on Charlie Hebdo in the past.

Nevertheless, analysts say the evidence gathered so far leads more towards Al Qaeda and away from ISIS.

Jewish Cartoonist Among Dead in Paris Terror Attack

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

An elderly French Jew born in Tunisia was among those slaughtered Wednesday in a terror attack in Paris.

Jewish caricature artist Georges Wolinski, 81, was one of 12 people shot and killed in the attack at the ‘Charlie Hebdo’ satiric magazine offices.

Wolinsky was the son of Siegried Wolinski, a Polish Jew, and Lola Bembaron, a Tunisian Jewish woman. He moved with his parents to France at the age of 13.

Although he began his college life as a student of architecture, he eventually switched to cartooning and by 1960 had co-founded a satirical magazine with a friend. The well-known cartoonist went on to work with leading French publications such as Paris Match, Le Nouvel Observateur, and L’Humanite, as well as Charlie Hebdo.

Jewish leaders in Europe were among the first to condemn the attack. They pointed out the event was a sign of what may soon become a potential tsunami of terror on the continent.

European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor said in a statement that the slaughter was “the beginning of a wave of terror” in Europe. He called the attack part of a “war against freedom of speech and the European way of life, which has already seen Jewish children gunned down at school and people murdered in cold blood while visiting a museum in Brussels.”

The president of the National Bureau of Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, Sammy Ghozlan, warned the attack constituted a “wake up” call.

“France must wake up to the danger of Islamism and the terror it brings all over the world: In Paris, Toulouse, Sarcelles, Brussels, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, jihadists are acting on the same radical Islamist ideology that is used to manipulate them,” he said.

Update: 2 Paris Terror Suspects on the Run, 1 Surrenders

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

French police are on a nationwide manhunt for two of the three terrorists who attacked journalists in the Paris office of the French satiric ‘Charlie Hebdo‘ weekly magazine on Wednesday. A third has surrendered.

An earlier unconfirmed report had stated that one of the terrorists had been killed and that two had been captured.

Police tracked the terrorists to a location in northeastern France, about 90 miles from Paris. Two of the killers, Said and Cherif Kouachi, are 34 and 32-year-old brothers of Algerian descent who live in Paris. An unrelated third terrorist, 18-year-old Hamid Mourad, surrendered.

All three are French nationals and speak fluent, colloquial French. They were reportedly trained in Syria at a radical Islamist terror base and possibly in Iraq as well.

One of the three told a female employee they were linked to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) as they entered the building to begin their targeted assassinations aimed at killing those who had published cartoons of the founder of Islam, the prophet Muhammed.

When it was over, 11 people were wounded and 12 were dead, including the magazine’s editor-in-chief, Stephan Chardonnier, 81-year-old Jewish caricature artist Georges Wolinsky and two police officers who responded to the attack.

Chardonnier, who was listed on Al Qaeda’s “Most Wanted” list, told friends he would “rather die standing than be slaughtered on my knees.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/report-2-paris-terror-suspects-captured-1-dead/2015/01/08/

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