With the attempted terrorist attack using machetes at the Louvre museum in Paris yesterday by Abdullah Reda al-Hamamy, whose social media history shows statements at least sympathetic to the Islamic State (IS), it raises once again the question, making no assumptions about al-Hamamy’s motives, of how connected the organization headquartered in Raqqa is to the attacks taking place around the world under IS’s banner—and how we would know.
As IS’s attacks outside of the statelet it has built in Iraq and Syria increased in frequency over the last year, a rather routinized mechanism has developed for attributing blame: IS claims the atrocities—or attempted atrocities—through Amaq News Agency. Continue reading →
Normandy church killers, Adel Kermiche and Abdelmalik Petitjean, swear allegiance to the Islamic State [video, 27 July 2016]
In Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, south of Rouen in Normandy, northern France, on 26 June 2016, two men wielding knives took five hostages in a church around 10:00 local time (just a bit before). Initially there were six hostages consisting of a priest, three nuns, and two worshippers, but one nun managed to escape and alerted the authorities, who surrounded the church. The attackers murdered the priest, Jacques Hamel, 85 (born 30 November 1930), making him kneel on the alter and slitting his throat while preaching in Arabic. One of the nuns present said that while the two killers were initially nervous and aggressive, by the time of the murder they seemed content: one of them gave “a soft smile, that of someone who is happy”. An elderly male worshipper was handed a mobile telephone and made to film the attackers slaughtering the priest, and was himself then slashed and grievously wounded. That footage has not been released, but almost certainly will be at some point. “The two men had cried Allahu Akbar (God is Great) as they left the church with three of the hostages. One man had a fake suicide belt made of aluminium and three knives; the other was carrying a backpack made to look like a bomb and a kitchen timer.” The two attackers were shot dead by police.Continue reading →