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“Traitorous” US Soldier Planned Terrorist Attacks in New York and the Middle East | The State

Cole James Bridges

Photo:
Liberty County Jail / Courtesy

Cole James Bridges, a young US Army soldier, was arrested yesterday in Georgia on terrorism charges after he spoke online about plots to blow up the New York 9/11 Memorial and other iconic sites and target military personnel. Americans in the Middle East.

Bridges (20), a native of Stow, Ohio, was indicted on charges of attempting to materially support a terrorist organization (the group Islamic State, ISIS) and attempted murder of a member of the military, reported Nicholas Biase, a spokesman for federal prosecutors in Manhattan.

The suspect, aka Cole Gonzales, He was a member of the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Georgia, while communicating with the Islamic State online about terror plans. But unknowingly, an FBI agent participated in the talk when Bridges provided detailed tactical instructions, manuals and tips on how to attack the 9/11 memorial and other targets in NYC, Biase said.

“As we allege today, Bridges, a private in the US Army, betrayed our country and his unit when he conspired with someone he believed to be an ISIS sympathizer to help attack and kill American soldiers in the Middle East ”, said William F. Sweeney Jr., chief of the New York City FBI office.

“Fortunately, the person he contacted was an FBI employee and we were able to prevent his ill wishes from coming true,” Sweeney said in a statement. “Our troops risk their lives for our country, but they should never face such danger at the hands of one of their own,” condemned US Attorney Audrey Strauss.

Bridges is scheduled to make an initial appearance in federal court in Augusta, Georgia tomorrow Thursday, he reported. Fox News.

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Delhi The Buzz

Khalistani terrorist involved in killing of Shaurya Chakra awardee arrested: Police


New Delhi, December 31

An alleged Khalistani terrorist, who is suspected to be involved in the killing of Shaurya Chakra awardee Balwinder Sandhu in Punjab in October, was arrested from the Delhi airport on Thursday, police said.

The wanted gangster, who has several cases registered against him, was deported from Dubai and arrested by the special cell of the Delhi Police at the airport, officials said.

Security officials will question Sukh Bikriwal, who is suspected to be involved in targeted killings at the behest of the Pakistani intelligence agency ISI, they added.

Sandhu was shot dead by unknown assailants in Tarn Taran district on October 16, months after the government withdrew his security cover.

He had fought against terrorism in the state for years, facing scores of terror attacks during the height of Khalistani militancy. PTI





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UAE

UAE condemns terrorist attack on Aden airport

Dubai: The UAE has strongly condemned the cowardly terrorist attack on Yemen’s Aden airport, shortly after the arrival of the newly formed government tasked with implementing the Riyadh Agreement.

“The attempts to target the Riyadh Agreement by targeting the new Yemeni government is nothing but an evil act that seeks to undermine the chances of security and stability in Yemen and the region,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said in a statement today.

The ministry underlined the need to counter subversive attempts with vigilance and resolve.

“The UAE voices its strong condemnation and its permanent and full rejection of all forms of violence and terrorism aimed at destabilising security and stability, in contradiction to all religious and human values and principles,” the statement said.

The ministry emphasised that the continuation of such attacks illustrates the nature of the threat posed by the Houthi militias and their ongoing endeavour to undermine security and stability in the region.

It also said that the Saudi Arabia-led coalition will continue to support the Yemeni people and do whatever would contribute to its stability and security.

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Headline USA New York

NYPD Member Alert for Possible Terrorist Attacks | The State

More than 1,000 NYPD officers have been infected with coronavirus.

Photo:
Kena Betancur / Getty Images

The NYPD has warned its members to be vigilant about possible attacks by terrorists and extremists, in a memo sent this week by his Office of Intelligence.

In the memorandum, sent last Friday, police officers are reminded that law enforcement and military personnel remain the main targets of violent extremists, indicates this Sunday the CBS chain.

The chain highlights that three policemen have already been victims of assault last June in Brooklyn, one was stabbed and two were shot, which was described as an Islamic terrorist attack.

Also that the memorandum describes recent threats from traditional networks aligned with Al Qaeda, as well as anarchists and neo-Nazis.

The Benevolent Association of the Police, the main union of uniformed men in the city, has indicated that at a time when there is an environment against the police, “these threats are more serious than ever.”

“Those in power who use their platform to demonize police officers must realize that their words matter. They are giving inspiration and encouragement to violent extremists of all kinds, ”the union said, according to CBS.

A police spokesman told the network that New York City is still one of the terrorist targets the world’s main cities and that to protect the city, police officers must be informed of all potential threats.

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Headline USA New York Politics

Iranian President Rouhani says he is happy ‘lawless terrorist’ Trump is leaving office

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani said today he was happy that ‘lawless terrorist’ Donald Trump was leaving the White House.

‘We are not overjoyed about Mr. Biden’s arrival, but we are happy about Trump leaving,’ Rouhani said in a televised speech to the cabinet, adding the Republican was ‘the most lawless U.S. president’ and a ‘terrorist.’

It comes after Trump was last month ‘talked out of’ launching strikes on Iran after a UN report showed a massive increase in its nuclear stockpiles. 

Trump also ordered the assassination of Iran’s top ranking general at the start of this year, Qassem Soleimani, who marshalled terror factions to further Tehran’s ambitions throughout the Middle East.  

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaking during a press conference in Tehran, Iran, 14 December 2020

US President Donald Trump waits to address the United Nations General Assembly at its headquarters in New York, United States, Tuesday, September 24, 2019

US President Donald Trump waits to address the United Nations General Assembly at its headquarters in New York, United States, Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Biden’s allies believe that Trump’s decision to pull out an Obama-era nuclear deal with Tehran in 2018 and the hardline he took only made the regime more of a threat. 

However, Biden will be cautious not to appear a soft-touch against Iran which has continually alarmed the UN with its flagrant nuclear violations, its appalling human rights record and support for terror groups like Hezbollah.

Rouhani’s gloating over Trump’s election defeat comes after one of the Republican’s great backers on the world stage, the strongman Russian president Vladimir Putin, finally congratulated Biden.   

Putin was one of the last world leaders who had not acknowledged Biden’s victory, with the Kremlin saying it would wait for the official results of the election. 

But after Monday’s Electoral College confirmation that Biden as the winner by 306 votes to 232, Putin ‘wished the president-elect every success’ and said he was ‘ready for interaction and contact’ with Biden. 

Putin also ‘expressed confidence that Russia and the United States, which have a special responsibility for global security and stability, could, despite their differences, really help to solve the many problems and challenges facing the world’.

Putin had appeared to hedge his bets in the run-up to the election, accusing Biden of ‘sharp anti-Russian rhetoric’  but welcoming his calls for nuclear arms control. 

The Russian leader had also defended Hunter Biden, the president-elect’s son, against criticism from Trump over his business ties in Russia and Ukraine. 

Most world leaders congratulated Biden after he was projected as the winner on November 7, four days after the election, but Putin was conspicuously silent.  

Joe Biden gives another victory speech on Monday night after the electoral college confirmed him as the president-elect

Joe Biden gives another victory speech on Monday night after the electoral college confirmed him as the president-elect 

On Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov had said it was ‘appropriate to wait for the official vote count’ before congratulating Biden.  

Asked why in 2016 Putin had congratulated Trump almost immediately after his election victory over Hillary Clinton, Peskov said there was an obvious difference this time round.

‘You can see that there are certain legal procedures that have been announced by the current president. That is why the situations are different and we therefore think it appropriate to wait for an official announcement,’ said Peskov.

Trump has launched a barrage of lawsuits and made a series of unfounded claims of election fraud, but none of these efforts have succeeded in halting the march towards Biden’s inauguration on January 20. 

On Monday, the 538 members of the electoral college who formally choose the president met in their respective states and confirmed Biden as the winner.  

Peskov said Putin had repeatedly indicated he was ready to work with any US president. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday congratulated Joe Biden on his victory in the U.S. presidential election

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday congratulated Joe Biden on his victory in the U.S. presidential election

He added that Russia hoped it could establish dialogue with a new US administration and find a way to normalise troubled bilateral relations.

‘President Putin has repeatedly said he will show respect for whatever choice the American people makes,’ Peskov said.

While Biden was vice president under Barack Obama, Moscow’s ties with Washington sank to post-Cold War lows when Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.   

Relations soured further over US allegations that Moscow had meddled in the 2016 election to try to tilt the vote in Trump’s favour, something the Kremlin denied.

Trump himself has played down the findings by US intelligence, and tried to drum up evidence for a counter-claim that Ukraine had tried to help Clinton.   

Trump’s ties to Russia were the subject of the two-year Mueller investigation, which neither accused him of collusion nor cleared him of obstruction of justice.   

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Canada

Toronto 2006 bombing plan: terrorist wants to settle in Montreal

A member of the terrorist group “Toronto 18” who planned the bombings in 2006 wants to settle in a halfway house in Montreal after his release on parole.

The Parole Board of Canada has proven Shareef Abdelhaleem’s plan to serve a life sentence for terrorism, Global News reported Tuesday.

Corrections, however, opposed the accused’s parole, deeming it “premature” at a hearing in Quebec.

But Anbdelhaleem apologized for his subversive past and argued that he was no longer a threat. “If you release me, you won’t regret it,” promised the former software developer, who already had his first release request rejected last year.

However, the halfway house where Abdelhaleem, now 44, intended to live retracted under the pretext that the needs of his “host” were “too high”.

Shareef Abdelhaeem and his terrorist group planned to bomb the Toronto offices of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), the Toronto Stock Exchange and a military base in the summer of 2006.

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Headlines UK

Terrorist who beheaded French teacher is buried in Chechnya

Teenager who beheaded French teacher in prophet cartoons row is given a hero’s funeral in his native Chechnya, with hundreds turning out to see the killer buried as mourners carry ‘Lion of Islam’ signs

  • Footage shows mourners at the ceremony for 18-year-old Abdullakh Anzorov
  • Some 200 people attended the funeral ‘with honours’ in snowy conditions 
  • His body was returned from France nearly two months after police shot him dead

The terrorist who beheaded a French school teacher near Paris for showing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed to his class has been given a hero’s funeral in his native Chechnya.

Footage shows mourners at the ceremony for Abdullakh Anzorov, 18, in his native village of Shalazi in the oil-rich Russian region.

The body of the killer who decapitated teacher Samuel Paty, and was lauded as a ‘lion of Islam’ at his funeral, had been returned from France on Saturday.

Anzorov was shot dead by French police minutes after the beheading in the Paris suburbs on October 16.

Mourners at the funeral of Abdullakh Anzorov, 18, who is said to have been buried ‘with honours’ in his native village of Shalazi

Footage of the mourners praying as they walked with Anzorov's body at the funeral was shared on a number of platforms

Footage of the mourners praying as they walked with Anzorov’s body at the funeral was shared on a number of platforms

Some 200 people attended the Muslim funeral in snowy conditions, said BAZA media which reported Anzorov had been buried ‘with honours’.

His body was carried through the village by mourners in Urus-Martanovsky district.

Entrances to Shalazi – population 5,330 – were sealed off by 65 police officers to stop others attending.

A street was unofficially named after the teenage terrorist, said reports.

Video of the mourners praying as they walked with Anzorov’s body was shared on a number of platforms.

One carried a message lauding him as ‘The Lion of Islam’.

A message with the video read: ‘The Lion of Islam has arrived to native soil today, and returned to the soil. ‘No-one but Allah has strength and power.’

Samuel Paty (pictured) was beheaded near Paris in October after showing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed to his class during a lesson about free speech

Samuel Paty (pictured) was beheaded near Paris in October after showing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed to his class during a lesson about free speech  

Scores of people attended the funeral after body of the killer who decapitated teacher Samuel Paty had been returned from France on Saturday

Scores of people attended the funeral after body of the killer who decapitated teacher Samuel Paty had been returned from France on Saturday

Paty, 47, was beheaded outside the gates of the college where he taught in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, north of Paris.

The killing followed an online campaign from Muslim parents angry at him for showing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed to students.

The teacher had used the cartoons from magazine Charlie Hebdo as part of a class on the importance of free speech.

Reports said he had asked Muslim students to leave the classroom before he displayed the cartoons in an attempt to avoid causing offence.

Last month three pupils were charged with identifying Paty to Anzorov before the beheading.

Another was charged with lying the she had been present when he showed the cartoons.

Some 200 people attended the Muslim funeral in snowy conditons, said local media which reported Anzorov had been buried 'with honours'

Some 200 people attended the Muslim funeral in snowy conditons, said local media which reported Anzorov had been buried ‘with honours’ 

The Chechen allegedly told pupils he wanted to ‘humiliate and strike’ Paty over the cartoons, seen as offensive by Muslims.

He apparently sent a video moments before the killing.

This showed him holding a knife and gun.

Later he sent a message reading: ‘Say prayers for me, I will go through trials today and I hope that thanks to Allah’s help I will succeed.’

French president Emmanuel Macron said the slaughter was ‘a typical Islamist terrorist attack’, and that ‘our compatriot was killed for teaching children freedom of speech’.

Hardline leader of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov claimed Macron was ‘forcing people into terrorism….not leaving them any choice’ by justifying the cartoons.

Kadryov was unusually slapped down by the Kremlin, and told to keep out of foreign policy issues.

The Chechen leader hit back defiantly, saying: ‘I cannot and will not silently watch atheists scoffing at religion.’

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Headlines UK London

Ex-con who fought London Bridge terrorist reveals he’s become friends with victim’s father


The family of a Fishmongers’ Hall terror attack victim are suing the Government over his death. 

Jack Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23, were fatally stabbed by Usman Khan, who was out on licence, during a prisoner rehabilitation event near London Bridge on November 29 last year.

Khan, 28, attended the event, organised by Cambridge University’s Learning Together programme, armed with two kitchen knives wearing a fake suicide vest and killed Mr Merritt and Ms Jones before he was shot dead by police. 

Mr Merritt’s parents, Anne and David, along with his brother Joe and his girlfriend Leanne O’Brien, are now taking legal action against the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office at the High Court.

Their solicitor Kate Maynard said that Khan was a convicted terrorist under multi-agency public protection when he killed Mr Merritt and Ms Jones, which raises ‘questions about the assessment and management of Usman Khan’s risk’.

Ms Maynard, a partner at Hickman and Rose, said that ‘where state agents or public bodies, by their acts or omissions, may have caused or contributed to a death’, the right to life under the European Convention on Human Rights is engaged. 

Jack Merritt, 25, who died following the terror attack during a prisoner rehabilitation event near London Bridge on November 29 last year

She added that the Merritt family had ‘no alternative’ but to bring their case this week, shortly before the one-year time limit for claims brought under the Human Rights Act, in order to ‘protect their position’.

Ms Maynard said that ‘all the relevant public bodies who are legally represented at the inquest’ had reached a ‘standstill agreement’ with the family – except for the MoJ and the Home Office, which she said ‘unfathomably’ did not agree.

Ms Maynard said families ‘normally’ reach an agreement with public bodies they may take legal action against ‘so that proceedings do not have to be seriously contemplated or issued until after all the investigations are completed, including an inquest’.

She added that such civil cases are ‘often’ resolved after an inquest ‘without involving the courts at all’.

But Ms Maynard said: ‘In this case, all the relevant public bodies who are legally represented at the inquest and were approached agreed to a limitation holiday for one year, except – unfathomably – the Secretaries of State for Justice and the Home Department.

‘Regrettably, this left the family with no alternative but having to turn their minds to protecting their position by issuing proceedings, at a time when they were otherwise focusing their attention on celebrating Jack’s life on the anniversary of his death.’

Last month a court heard that the Prevent team dealing with the Fishmongers’ Hall attacker had ‘no specific training’ in handling convicted terrorists.      

At a pre-inquest hearing, lawyer for Mr Merritt’s family Nick Armstrong suggested there was already evidence of a ‘systemic problem’ as ‘all the Prevent officers from Staffordshire’ said they had ‘no specific training in handling terrorist offenders’.  

Saskia Jones, 23, died following a terror attack at London Bridge after convicted terrorist Usman Khan went on a knife rampage

Saskia Jones, 23, died following a terror attack at London Bridge after convicted terrorist Usman Khan went on a knife rampage 

He told the court that the monitoring of Khan had been ‘handed over by West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit to the Staffordshire unit for reasons that remain to be explored and all of them are saying they have no specific training.’   

Henry Pitchers QC, for Ms Jones’s family, pointed out that Khan had been assessed as the ‘highest level of risk’ and had 22 licence conditions on his release.  

Mr Pitchers told the court: ‘We know he was a convicted terrorist, he had been out of prison for less than a year when this attack occurred.

‘We know and it won’t be disputed that he was subject to supervision and was also supervised by the probation services and relatively frequent contact they had with him.

‘As I understand it he was screened prior to release by police, released and assessed as being at the highest level of risk.

‘Looking at the evidence we’ve seen, his last unannounced visit from police officers was… Around two weeks before the attack.

‘They arrived at midday, found the flat to be dark, you see Mr Khan wasn’t happy about them taking pictures of his X-box games and he asked to speak to a solicitor. He asked them to leave which they did.’ 

Mr Pitchers questioned whether the Prevent team or probation ‘should have had an inkling’ of the immediate danger Khan posed – he was convicted of being part of an al-Qaeda-inspired cell which plotted to blow up the London Stock Exchange and kill Boris Johnson in 2012. 



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Headline USA

Emmanuel Macron warns some French districts are ‘terrorist breeding grounds’


Emmanuel Macron has today warned some French districts are ‘terrorist breeding grounds’ where ‘small girls wear full veil and are raised to hate our values’.    

The head of state painted a picture of lawless suburbs in which abused infants are kept away from children of the opposite sex in an open letter defending his stance against Islamic extremists.

Macron also said there are ‘hundreds of radicalised individuals’ living in France who could strike with a knife at any moment.

His comments come after a spate of terror attacks in France, including the murders of teacher Samuel Paty on October 16 and three others in Nice on October 29.

Emmanuel Macron has today warned some French districts are ‘terrorist breeding grounds’ in an open letter defending his stance against Islamic extremists. Pictured: Macron speaks to media after signing a condolence book for victims of the Vienna attack in Paris on Tuesday 

The President said 'small girls wear full veil and are raised to hate our values' in some areas of France. Pictured: A woman wearing a niqab, the islamic full veil, walks in a street of Lyon, eastern France

The President said ‘small girls wear full veil and are raised to hate our values’ in some areas of France. Pictured: A woman wearing a niqab, the islamic full veil, walks in a street of Lyon, eastern France

In a letter to the Financial Times, Macron wrote: ‘Since 2015 it has become clear, and I said this even before I became president, that there are breeding grounds for terrorists in France.

‘If you do not believe me, read the social media postings of hatred shared in the name of a distorted Islam that resulted in Paty’s death. 

‘Visit the districts where small girls aged three or four are wearing a full veil, separated from boys, and, from a very young age, separated from the rest of society, raised in hatred of France’s values.’

The full veil has been banned in France since 2011, following controversial legislation dubbed ‘the burka ban’. 

Macron wrote the letter in response to a column written in the FT by a Muslim journalist accusing him of spreading hatred against Muslims, which has since been taken down due to ‘factual inaccuracies’.

He said France is fighting against ‘designs of hatred and death that threaten its children — never against Islam’. 

Macron wrote: ‘I will not allow anybody to claim that France, or its government, is fostering racism against Muslims.’

The President said France has every right as a sovereign nation to oppose ‘deception, fanaticism, [and] violent extremism’.

Protesters burn an effigy depicting French President Emmanuel Macron during a demonstration in Kolkata, India, on November 4

Protesters burn an effigy depicting French President Emmanuel Macron during a demonstration in Kolkata, India, on November 4

Muslims protest against the comments made by Macron regarding caricatures of Prophet Muhammad in Kolkata

Muslims protest against the comments made by Macron regarding caricatures of Prophet Muhammad in Kolkata 

He added the country must remain united against the terrorists ‘who want to break us’.

Macron said France ‘knows what it owes to the Islamic civilisation’ and the country’s ‘Muslim leaders speak out when the worst happens’. 

France has a Muslim community of some five million – the largest in western Europe, and many with roots in former colonies such as Algeria.

Some have complained of increased racism and Islamophobia being aimed against them by politicians including Macron. 

Emmanuel Macron (pictured on October 2) described Islam as 'a religion that is in crisis all over the world' as he unveiled a proposal to battle Islamic radicalism which had created a 'parallel society' living outside of French values

Emmanuel Macron (pictured on October 2) described Islam as ‘a religion that is in crisis all over the world’ as he unveiled a proposal to battle Islamic radicalism which had created a ‘parallel society’ living outside of French values

The President announced measures aimed at fighting ‘Islamist separatism’ including stricter government control of schools and other institutions serving Muslims on October 2.

During a speech, he said Islam was ‘in crisis’ globally, and he has also pledged that France will continue to publish Charlie Hebdo cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammed.

This has led to demonstrations across the Arab and Muslim world for the past two weeks, with thousands calling for a boycott of French products.

In Kolkata, India, thousands of protesters took to the streets yesterday to express their outrage, and burned a model depicting the French President.

Meanwhile in Bangladesh, Muslims rallied and called for a boycott of French goods whilst condemning Macron for his remarks defending the controversial cartoons. 



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Headline USA

Tunisian Nice terrorist tests positive for coronavirus


The Tunisian jihadist who slaughtered three people at a church in Nice before being gunned down by French police has tested positive for coronavirus – which could delay his questioning.   

Brahim Issaoui, 21, remains hospitalised after being shot several times by police after the knife rampage at Nice’s Notre-Dame basilica on Thursday.

‘He hasn’t yet been questioned, his prognosis remains uncertain,’ another inquiry source told AFP late Monday.

Nice terrorist Brahim Issaoui is seen in a photograph taken at the Italian port city of Bari, where he disembarked from a coronavirus quarantine ship on October 8 – marking his arrival in mainland Europe

In a little over six weeks, Issaoui travelled from Tunisia, into Italy via Lampedusa, was taken to the mainland, and released by Italian authorities under deportation order. From there, it is thought he caught a train to Paris, where he stayed for a little over two weeks, before going to Nice and launching his attack

In a little over six weeks, Issaoui travelled from Tunisia, into Italy via Lampedusa, was taken to the mainland, and released by Italian authorities under deportation order. From there, it is thought he caught a train to Paris, where he stayed for a little over two weeks, before going to Nice and launching his attack

Issaoui, who was known to Tunisian police for violence and drug offences, arrived in France only last month, having first crossed the Mediterranean to the Italian island of Lampedusa.

Italian media reports say he was initially placed in coronavirus quarantine with nearly 400 other migrants aboard a ferry boat, before being allowed to disembark at Bari on October 9.

Investigators have since determined he arrived in Nice on October 27, just two days before the church attack.   

Issaoui first attacked married Nadine Devillers, 60, slitting her throat near the baptismal font in an attempted decapitation. 

After trying to behead Devillers, Issaoui hacked 54-year-old sacristan Vincent Loques to death as he prepared for the first Mass of the day.  

Brazilian-born Simone Barreto Silva, 44, was then stabbed multiple times but managed to escape the church, running to a nearby burger bar where she succumbed to her injuries. The mother-of-three’s last words to paramedics were: ‘Tell my children that I love them’.

Brahim Issaoui, a 21-year-old Tunisian migrant, receives medical treatment after killing three worshippers

Brahim Issaoui, a 21-year-old Tunisian migrant, receives medical treatment after killing three worshippers

On arrival, French police shot Issaoui 14 times as he screamed ‘Allahu Akbar’ – God is greatest in Arabic – a phrase he kept shouting even after being sedated and put into an ambulance.    

Today, an al-Qaeda affiliated terror organisation called al-Mahdi, which is based in southern Tunisia, took responsibility for the attacks and claim they ‘prepared’ and ‘provided the logistical means’ for Issaoui to slaughter the three victims. 

In footage posted on social media, the little-known terror group also threatened to send more ‘warriors’ to avenge Islam after French President Emmanuel Macron’s comments on the caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed in the Charlie Hebdo magazine.  

‘As long as Macron’s dog continues to caricature the prophet, we still have a large number of warriors to avenge the faithful,’ the man on the video says.  

Macron has vowed to defend the right to freedom of speech and that France will never renounce caricatures, after the furore created in the Muslim word by the republication of cartoons of the prophet Mohammed in September by the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.

Charlie Hebdo republished the cartoons to mark the start of the trial of suspected accomplices in the 2015 massacre of its staff by Islamist gunmen. The trial was Sunday delayed for at least a week after three defendants tested positive for coronavirus.

Meanwhile, six people have been detained for questioning over suspected links with Issaoui, but only one remained in custody Tuesday, a 29-year-old Tunisian who was aboard the boat that brought Issaoui to Lampedusa, sources said.

The Tunisian terrorist had turned to a hermit-like life of prayer following a lifestyle of drink and drugs before the atrocity, his family said.  

Speaking from Sfax, Tunisia, last week, his mother said Issaoui had left school and worked as a motorcycle mechanic, at first spending his wages on alcohol and drugs.    

She told the Telegraph: ‘I used to tell him, ”we are poor and you’re wasting money?” He would reply ”if God wills it, he will guide me to the right path, it’s my business”.’ 

Security forces guard the area after a reported knife attack at Notre Dame church in Nice, France, last Thursday

Security forces guard the area after a reported knife attack at Notre Dame church in Nice, France, last Thursday

But over the last two and a half years he became increasingly religious and isolated.   

‘He prayed [and] went from home to work and back, not mixing with others or leaving the house,’ his mother said. 

His brother Yassine said that Issaoui worked harvesting olives in Italy after leaving Tunisia, then went on to France.

On the day before the attack, October 28, he called the family to say he had just arrived in the country and would be sleeping in front of the church – sending a photograph of himself at the cathedral that would be the location of the attack.  

‘He didn’t tell me anything,’ said Yassine. He added that he did not understand how he could carry out the Nice attack so soon after arriving in France. 

The country’s Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said that the attacker ‘wasn’t on any of our security watchlists, either French or European,’ and added that France was ‘at war with Islamist extremism… an enemy that is both internal and external’.

He told RTL radio: ‘We need to understand that there have been and there will be other events such as these terrible attacks.’ 



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