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Almedy Coulibaly: Soldier of the Islamic State

Al Hayat Media, one of the media arms for the Islamic State (ISIS) has released a “martyrdom” video of Almedy Coulibaly, recorded before the Kosher market siege, pledging allegiance to the Islamic State and explaining his reasons for hooking up with the Kouachi brothers and embarking on his killing spree. It’s already down from You Tube, but you can watch it here, here or here. Even though it is in French, I suggest you watch it to see the editing. If you'd rather read about it, descriptions by the media are here and here.

Al Hayat takes video recorded by Coulibaly after the Charlie Hebdo killings and the killing of the policewoman, but before the market killings, and adds its own text and descriptions, giving the impression he is being interviewed by ISIS. [More...]

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The Kosher Market Hostage Incident

Update: Police say Hayat Boumeddiene is believed to have left for Turkey before the attacks and may be headed to Syria or now in Syria.

Update: A Muslim employee at the Kosher market is being hailed as a hero for protecting the shoppers in the freezer.

When the Islamist gunman broke into the store, Lassana Bathily, a 24-year-old Muslim from the African country of Mali, told customers to hide in the store's basement freezer.

Closing the freezer's doors, he told the customers to wait calmly inside while he keeps a lookout. After police raided the supermarket and killed gunman Amedy Coulibaly, the hostages emerged safely from the freezer.

Original Post Below

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Al Qaeda Explains Why It Targeted France and Charlie Hebdo

In addition to taking credit for the Charlie Hebdo attack, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) yesterday explained why France and Charlie Hebdo were selected as targets.

The leadership of #AQAP directed the operation, and they have chosen their target carefully as a revenge for the honor of Prophet (pbuh). The target was in France in particular because of its obvious role in the war on Islam and oppressed nations.

The operation was the result of the threat of Sheikh Usama (RA). He warned the West about the consequences of the persistence in the blasphemy against Muslims’ sanctities. Sheikh Usama (RA) said in his message to the West: If there is no check on the freedom of your words, then let your hearts be open to the freedom of our actions.

Separately, in a 5 minute audio address released by al-Malahem Media, AQAP leader Shaykh Harith al-Nathari praised the attack. (He did not take credit.) [Added: A version with English subtitles is now available here.] Here is an English translation. [Another is here.] A snippet:[More...]

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Hostages in Montpellier (Not Related): Open Thread

Since the hostage situation at Monpellier turned out to be unrelated to the others in the news, let's make this an open thread for all topics.


There is a hostage situation at a jewelry store in Montpellier, FR. Two hostages are believed to have been taken. Police are on scene. (Use google translate.)

Update: It may not be related to the other two incidents, but a robbery gone bad.

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Suspected Charlie Hebdo Killers are Dead

The two suspected killers of the 12 people at the Charlie Hebdo newspaper in Paris are dead. Their hostage is safe. The brothers were killed when they came out of the hiding place shooting at security forces. Looks like they decided to go out in what they perceived to be a "blaze of glory."

Here are the suspects believed to have killed the policewoman and taken hostages at the Kosher market. They are Hayat Boumeddiene (L) and Amedy Coulibaly(R.) Coulibaly was killed by police.

Boumeddiene got away. (Added: It's unlikely she was ever there.) The FBI and French police are searching for her. Some of his hostages are safe. Here's a photo of some hostages being taken from the market. AFP reported 4 besides the gunman were killed in the market incident. They since revised that to four are critically wounded. It's also not clear whether the four are hostages or police or a combination.

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French Cops Close in on Brothers Who May Have Hostage

As of this morning Paris police got all geared up to conduct an attack operation near Paris where they believe the two suspects in the Charlie Hebdo murders are staked out in a small printing company. Evidently, the brothers are believed to be holed up inside the business with a hostage.

While others say they heard shots and that two people were killed and more injured, the Paris prosecutor's office denies this part.

Stay tuned, it should happen pretty fast now, but I've got to get some sleep. (3:17 a.m. here.)

This thread is open to aspects of the Charlie Hebdo killings.

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Who's Behind The Charlie Hebdo Attacks?

What a sad day in Paris with 12 dead in a terror attack at the Charlie Hebdo newspaper. The BBC has good ongoing coverage.

French police published the photos above of two of the three suspects, Said and Cherif Kouachi, 32 and 34, French brothers reportedly of Algerian descent who were born and raised in Paris.

It looks like police named the wrong guy for the third and youngest suspect. Hamyd Mourad, 18, has surrendered to police. His classmates tweeted he was in class at the time of the attack. There are other reports he has a credible alibi and has been released. If so, It's a good thing he surrendered. He probably would have been shot if police found him first. [More...]

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Merry Christmas from AQAP and Sheikh Ayman al-Zawahiri

AQAP (Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula) has released Issue 13 of its Inspire Magazine. I moved some parts of the cover around in the above picture, here's the actual cover.

It's been a long time since AQAP released an issue of Inspire. It seems they wanted to get this one out for Christmas, which will be the 5th anniversary of Captain Underpants' (Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab ) failed attempt to set off a bomb on a plane traveling from Amsterdam to Detroit.

The issue gets right to the point: America is the enemy and Al Qaida's supporters in our neck of the woods will be setting off more bombs. To help them, the issue offers encouragement and instructions on how to build a bomb in their kitchen. From the Editor of the magazine:

He continues: [More....]

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Sorrow in Sydney

The hostage situation at the chocolate shop and cafe in Sydney did not end well. The store manager and a woman lawyer with three children were killed, along with the lone gunman, who was not a member of any extremist group. He had no ties to any terror organization.

Police stormed the cafe this morning. The gunman was Man Haron Monis, who was well known to authorities for his extremism and mental instability.

[He is] an Iranian refugee and self-styled sheikh known for sending hate mail to the families of Australian troops killed in Afghanistan. He was charged last year with being an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife, but had been free on bail.

He was facing more than 40 sexual assault charges.[More...]

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Pakistan Military Kills Al Qaeda Leader Indicted in U.S.

The Pakistani military announced it carried out a raid this weekend on an al Qaida hideout in South Waziristan, killing AQ leader Adnan G. el-Shukrijumah, a naturalized U.S. citizen indicted for terror crimes in the U.S.

Pakistan said it was their intelligence that led to the raid (not U.S. Intelligence.) Adnan G. el-Shukrijumah has been on the FBI's wanted list for a long time. In 2003, based on information obtained during the interrogation of 9/11 detainee Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, they searched for him from Florida to Morocco. In 2010, he was indicted in the Eastern District of New York as part of the Najibullah Zazi case involving a plan to attack the NY subway. He was also charged with planning to blow up a shopping mall in Manchester, England. [More...]

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Homeland Security Issues Threat Notice

Homeland Security has issued a threat notice urging current and former law enforcement, and military members to scrub their social media accounts of information that would identify them as such.

While the notice says no specific threats have been received, it says one is possible -- better safe than sorry.

The notice is here. [More...]

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DOJ Sends Dozens of Prosecutors Abroad to Help Prosecute Terrorists

Attorney General Eric Holder today said that DOJ has been sending dozens of prosecutors to countries in the Balkans, Middle East and North Africa to assist those countries in prosecuting returning and/or captured terrorists from ISIS and other terror groups.

"These personnel will provide critical assistance to our allies in order to help prosecute those who return from the Syrian region bent on committing acts of terrorism."

The cooperation includes "information sharing, investigations and prosecutions, and countering violent extremism."

According to another DOJ official, so far 70 prosecutors have been dispatched. [More...]

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RCMP Update on Parliament Attack and Zehaf-Bibeau

The RCMP has issued an update on the investigation into the Parliament Shooting and Michael Zehaf-Bibeau. According to the Toronto Star, saying Zehaf-Bibeau had recorded himself on video before the attack "that amounts to “persuasive evidence” that his attack had been “driven by ideological and political motives.” The RCMP statement is here.

The video is not being released, but the statement contains no such evidence. It says he obtained the knife he was carrying from his aunt's property where he had buried it years earlier. The gun is an old an uncommon gun and they are unsure of its origin. They believe he financed the attack from his own savings, when he worked for oil fields in Alberta. [More...]

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Zale Thompson's Hatchet Attack on Police in Queens

Zale Thompson of Queens, New York attacked four recent police academy graduates with a hatchet on the street in Queens yesterday as they were posing for a picture. The incident was caught on tape. One officer was struck in the head and is in critical condition. Another officer was struck in the arm and was treated and released from the hospital. The other two officers shot at Thompson, who died at the scene.

Authorities are pouring over his social media contacts to determine the motive for the attack and whether he has links to terrorists like ISIS. As far as I can tell, he's a militant whose cause is the oppression of African Americans in America, not religious oppression. He's interested in Africa and America, not the Middle East. I see nothing to indicate he cares about Sharia law. [More...

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Saddam's Pilots Teach ISIS to Fly

Former pilots for Saddam's air force are reportedly teaching ISIS to fly. Among the aircraft: MI-G fighter planes they got from Syria in battle. The fighter jets have been spotted over Aleppo in Syria.

Islamic State (Isis) is takings its first steps towards building an air force by training pilots to fly captured fighter planes, according to a group monitoring the conflict in Syria.

Isis is using lots of tanks, armoured personnel carriers, artillery and Jeeps taken from the Syrian and Iraqi armies but this is the first report that it has planes in the air.

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