Nov 21, 2014
A horrified France was grappling with a new reality on Thursday in which hundreds of its citizens are openly joining jihadi groups and directly calling for attacks on their homeland.
A new ISIS video, released on jihadi forums and Twitter on Wednesday, showed three Kalashnikov-wielding Frenchmen burning their passports and calling on Muslims to join them or stage attacks in France.
The new video explicitly calls for retaliation against France for launching airstrikes against ISIS, which has seized large parts of Syria and Iraq.
It follows the appearance of two other French jihadis identified as 22-year-olds Maxime Hauchard and Mickael Dos Santos in a brutal ISIS execution video released at the weekend.
Defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced on Wednesday that France would step up its campaign against the jihadis, sending six Mirage fighter jets to Jordan in December.
France currently has nine Rafale jets based in the more distant United Arab Emirates as part of a US-led international campaign to provide air support to Iraqi and Kurdish forces fighting the group.
But France is increasingly looking inwards as it reels from the news that over 1,000 people from a wide range of backgrounds have left to join the jihadis in Iraq and Syria, with 375 currently there.
PM Manuel Valls said Wednesday that “close to 50” French citizens or residents of France have been killed in the conflict zone.
“So we know the dangers and, sadly, we are not surprised to learn that French citizens or residents of France are found at the heart of these cells and taking part in this barbarity,” said Mr Valls.
Meanwhile, an ISIS leader has been killed in an airstrike in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, residents and a local medical source said on Thursday.
They said Radwan Taleb al-Hamdouni, who they described as the radical militant group’s leader in Mosul, was killed with his driver when their car was hit in a western district of the city on Wednesday afternoon. Hamdouni was buried later on Wednesday.