A French intelligence report says that France is being targeted by al-Qaeda, the London-based Arabic-language newspaper al-Hayat reported Friday.
The report warned decision makers of a series of scenarios, including a terror attack which will take place ahead of the presidential elections in a bid to influence their results.
The report was recently submitted to the French authorities and was titled ‘Situation report on the radical Islamic terror threat in France.’ The report was composed by various intelligence and security organizations in the country for three
The writers of report fear a terror attack similar to the one which took place in Madrid in March 2004. In order to illustrate the concrete threat, the newspaper published for the first time a letter handwritten and signed by Osama bin Laden, which instructed a
radical Islamic organization in Algeria to “attack in eastern and southern France.”
According to the report, al-Qaeda affiliated websites contain “threatening messages by the organization, which include pictures from the French presidential campaign.”
The report added that “what contributes to the severity of the threats is that senior al-Qaeda members need to prove that they can still exert their influence in Europe and not only in the traditional jihad countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan.”
The report detailed four “threat centers” from which the activists would emerge. The first is “the Iraqi networks”: Hundreds of Muslims with a European citizenship who volunteered to fight in Iraq against the US army and returned last summer to Europe. Since
their return, they have been working on building secret cells or preparing terror attacks.
Intelligence information received by France points to the fact that one of the close assistants of Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, confessed during an interrogation by the Iraqi intelligence that about 30 radical Islamic Moroccans carrying a
European passport have secretly infiltrated France and several French-speaking countries in Africa in a bid to prepare terror attacks.
It appears that this information has been taken seriously by France, as several suspects have already been arrested in Canada.
Immediate threat: An Algerian group
The second source of threat mentioned by the report was “the Afghan-Pakistan networks.” Contrary to the prevailing belief that these networks completely disintegrated after September 11, 2001 and the war in Afghanistan, these organizations’ training camps
have reappeared near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
The report warned that volunteers carrying a European passport were recently seen in two camps, one in Pakistan run by Taliban members and the other in Afghanistan run by one of bin Laden’s former bodyguards.
The report stated that the counterterrorism organizations in France have been increasingly concerned by these networks, particularly after activists who left the camps were recently exposed in terror cells uncovered in Britain, Belgium, France and
These terrorists were carrying the ‘Guide for Jihad’ written by al-Qaeda member Abu Musab al-Suri, in which he preaches to attack France as it is “A legitimate target for jihad.”
Intelligence information received by France reveals that for the first time, women were among the terrorists who left the camps and settled in Europe in order to prepare terror attacks.
A third source of concern for the French intelligence is “the Caucasian terror networks.” According to the information, these networks are supervised by the al-Qaeda representative in Central Asia and include graduates of secret training camps in different places in Asia, including Kashmir, China, Uzbekistan, Georgia and Chechnya.
According to the report, graduates of the Kashmir camp with a British and Dutch citizenship were recently arrested. Another cell was uncovered in France.
A fourth source of concern for France, and perhaps the most severe, is the organizations in North Africa, mainly those affiliated with a radical Islamic organization in Algeria. The leader of this organization has threatened France several times in the past
The same organization was recently blessed by bin Laden’s deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, as the group which will lead the jihad in Europe and North Africa. The organization changed its name and officially became part of al-Qaeda after receiving bin Laden’s blessing.
This group was formerly known as the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, or GSPC.
This organization was the one which received the letter from bin Laden ordering an attack on France.
“The Algerian organization now constitutes the greatest source of threat on France and on all of Europe. Due to its organizational ability and its long-terms relations with al-Qaeda and especially with Osama bin Laden in person, the organizations has turned into al-Qaeda’s key representative in Europe,” the report warned.