ISIS executioner ‘orchestrating atrocities in France’
An ISIS terrorist thought to be orchestrating attacks in France has scolded male jihadists for not carrying out enough atrocities after an all-women terror cell was crushed by police.
Officials believe ‘French’ terrorist Rachid Kassim, who has appeared in ISIS beheading videos, is a ‘key instigator’ directing hundreds of recruits using encrypted messaging apps.
The 29-year-old terrorist, from a town north of Lyon, has emerged as the link among at least four plots to attack France since June – including an all-female gang arrested over a car packed with explosives left close to Notre Dame cathedral.
After the plot was foiled, he is said to have taken to Telegram to ask his male followers ‘What’s your excuse?’ and ‘where are the brothers?’ adding that too few men were launching attacks.
According to Le Monde, which did not say how it acquired the message, Kassim wrote: ‘You have to understand, if women are taking action it’s certainly because too few men will take action,’ he wrote, seemingly referring to the youngest in the female cell, a 19-year-old who was identified through her father’s abandoned car.
‘She had her whole life before her but she left, she left to do something and they stopped her before she could succeed. But I’m talking about her intention. You, what’s your excuse?’
The precise role of the terrorist, Rachid Kassim, in four plots this year is under investigation, but the officials say he has become a key instigator who directs recruits in encrypted forums on how and where to carry out the ISIS call for European Muslims to strike at home.
Most recently, he was believed to be in contact with a 19-year-old in an unprecedented cell of French women who failed in their attempts to detonate a car bomb and kill police.
From the Loire River town of Roanne, Kassim is believed to be in either Syria or Iraq yet figures in multiple French anti-terror investigations.
Kassim’s virtual fingerprints were found as early as the June 14 knifing of two police officials at their home in the Paris suburb of Magnanville, in which the killer left behind not only a video that he had streamed on Facebook Live but a hit list of politicians, journalists and public personalities.
That list is believed to have been drawn up by Kassim ahead of time, one of the officials said.
Terrorist Larossi Abballa was shot dead when police stormed the home to rescue the dead couple’s three-year-old child.
His video, although removed swiftly from Facebook, reappeared in ISIS propaganda.
Kassim then became the public face of an ISIS claim of responsibility for the July 14 truck attack on Nice that left 86 people dead, appearing in a video in which he threatened France and beheaded a captive in Iraq.
Kassim told French President Francois Hollande in the video: ‘You have said that your attack will intensify on us. In turn, our operations against you will be more severe.’
On July 26, two ‘French’ terrorists who came together on the encrypted app Telegram slit the throat of an elderly priest in the Normandy town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, holding nuns and a couple of parishioners hostage until police fatally shot the terrorists.
In that case, too, Kassim appeared to have a role, namely in bringing the two – Adel Kermiche and Abdel Malik Petitjean – together.
Again, selfie videos filmed by the men were almost immediately transmitted to ISIS media organisations.
And this past weekend, a 15-year-old teen-terrorist was arrested at his Paris home to thwart what authorities feared was a planned weekend attack – yet another person under investigation for possible links to Kassim, who was known even before he left to join ISIS for radicalising young people.