Al Qaeda video threat prompts warning to French préfectures over the summer

Al Qaeda video threat prompts warning to French préfectures over the summer
A woman reads messages at a makeshift shrine set up after the November 2015 attack on the Bataclan. Photo: Matthieu Alexandre / AFP
A video from Al Qaeda threatening France - which repeatedly referenced President Emmanuel Macron and Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin by name - has prompted a call for vigilance this summer, ahead of a trial linked to the November 2015 Paris attacks.

The Interior Ministry has instructed regional préfectures to “maintain vigilance at a high level throughout the summer and particularly as the September trial approaches”, following the posting of the video threat by As-Sahab, the official media wing of Al Qaeda’s leadership based in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

In its warning to regional officials the Ministry warned of the “high risk of acts against France” by radicalised individuals.

Anti-terror police, meanwhile, have launched an investigation into “criminal terrorist association” and “provocation to acts of terrorism by an online public communication service” following the publication of the video.

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Despite the vigilance notice, France’s terror threat level remains unchanged.

“It is a reminder to be vigilant, as is done regularly, but there has been no increase in the level of threat,” a senior intelligence official told Le Parisien

The trial of 20 people accused of being linked to the attacks on the Bataclan, bars and restaurants in central Paris, and Stade de France is due to start on September 8th, and is expected to draw huge media interest. 

The Ministry drew links with three terror-related ‘lone-wolf’ attacks in autumn 2020, shortly after the trial of 14 people in relation to the January 2015 attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo opened.

The controversial magazine republished cartoons of the prophet Mohammed shortly before the trial opened – prompting the terror group to issue another threat

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