Thursday, September 14, 2006

France gets put on the Al-Qaeda target list.

France: You thought staying out of Iraq will cut you some slack? Just being there in the infidel filled west gets you on the list. Welcome to the party.

AL-QAIDA deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahiri called for attacks against France in a video and designated an Algerian insurgency movement as the terrorist organisation’s armed wing in the European country, a terror expert said yesterday. Anne Giudicelli, who watched the one-hour, 16-minute long video on the internet, said Al-Zawahiri identified the Algerian group as the Salafist Group for Call and Combat, known by its French initials GSPC. He promised the organisation would be a “bone in the throat of American and French crusaders”. “This union will put fear in the hearts of the traitors and the sons of the French heathens,” al-Zawahiri said in the video, which was released on Monday, the fifth anniversary of the September 11 attacks. It was the first time al-Qaida has officially given its blessing to a union with the GSPC, Ms Giudicelli said. “From now on the links are official, legitimate, and they are taking part in the same combat,” said Ms Giudicelli, a former French diplomat who now runs the Paris-based consultancy firm, Terrorisc. Le Figaro newspaper quoted French security experts as saying there may be as many as several dozen supporters of the Algerian group in the country. The group is viewed as a major threat by the French security services and sources quoted by Le Figaro said it had switched its focus to taking part in the international jihad — which means holy war in Arabic — after losing influence at home. Many French people believe their country is less of a target for Islamist-inspired attacks because of France’s stance over Iraq, but officials say that cuts no ice with militants. A ban of the traditional Muslim headscarf in secular state schools, close French intelligence links with its former North African colonies combating Islamist extremists, and its role in NATO operations in Afghanistan against the Taliban militia, have secured France’s status as a “Crusader nation,” experts say.

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