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Extremist video calling for revenge against France released day before Nice attack

Graphic video by Isis operative widely shared on secure messaging app Telegram

Bel Trew
Middle East correspondent
Thursday 29 October 2020 19:20 GMT
French police and forensic officers stand in front of Notre Dame church after the attack
French police and forensic officers stand in front of Notre Dame church after the attack (AP)

A prominent Islamic State operative urged followers to use violence and cut off heads in revenge for French government’s stance on controversial cartoons of Prophet Muhammad, just a day before a knife-wielding attacker beheaded a woman and killed two others at a church in Nice.

On 28 October Turjuman al-Asawirti released a graphic video titled “Defend him [Prophet Muhammad] by striking off [their] heads]”, via the secure messaging app Telegram, where it has been widely shared by other Isis sympathisers.

The video hailed 18-year-old Abdullakh Anzorov as a hero. Anzorov beheaded teacher Samuel Paty in France earlier this month after he discussed cartoons of the prophet with his class. Al-Asawirti urged others to follow in Anzorov’s footsteps.

 Al-Asawirti’s video followed a similar call to arms on Sunday by al-Qaeda supporters who also used social media to encourage violent attacks on France and French interests both locally and abroad, again because of the French authorities defence of the display of the cartoons.

In al-Asawirti’s video he accused the west and French president Emmanuel Macron specifically of “declaring war” on the prophet and warned that Mr Macron will “regret” his actions.

It has sparked fears it is part of an ongoing attempt by supporters of both Isis and its arch-rival al-Qaeda to garner support for their extremist cause by stoking widespread anger in many Muslim countries.

Footage of the 2015 attack on the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo is also shown, followed by a TV news report about the recent killing of Mr Paty.

 A caption in the video declares: “Mocking God's messenger Muhammad ... is a declaration of an all-out war on Islam and Muslims.”

Furious protesters across Muslim-majority countries have taken to the streets to denounce France. 

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