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Paris knife terrorist swore allegiance to ISIS leader before attack

Thomas Joscelyn
13th May 2018 - FDD's Long War Journal

The Islamic State has released a short video purportedly showing the jihadist who attacked several people with a knife in Paris yesterday. The footage was released by the group’s Amaq News Agency. A screen shot of the young man can be seen above. FDD’s Long War Journal cannot independently verify that the person shown was responsible for the knife attacks. However, the video is similar to a number of other self-recorded clips released by the Islamic State after a series of small-scale attacks in Europe since mid-2016.

The masked man swears allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and also exhorts Islamic State followers to continue fighting. A similar formula was used in previous Amaq videos (see below).

The terrorist, who reportedly shouted “Allahu Akbar,” killed one person and wounded four others with a knife in the Opéra district of Paris. He was then shot and killed by police.

Amaq News quickly claimed responsibility for the operation, saying in a statement that the “attacker who stabbed multiple people in the city of Paris was a soldier of the Islamic State who carried out the operation in response to the call to target coalition nations.” Amaq has employed similar phrasing after a number of operations in the past, repeatedly saying that jihadists were seeking revenge against the anti-ISIS coalition. The Islamic State’s spokesmen and propagandists have repeatedly called for such attacks.

According to BBC News, authorities say the assailant was born in 1997 in Chechnya and may have been a suspected extremist before he struck.

Islamic State terrorists and supporters have executed a string of attacks inside France since Jan. 2015. The latest before yesterday came in March, when a jihadist took hostages at a supermarket in Trèbes. [For a list of Islamic State-connected attacks in France, see FDD’s Long War Journal report: Islamic State claims its ‘soldier’ took hostages in southern France.]

Similar videos of terrorists swearing allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi

The videos listed below featured jihadists who recorded their bayat (oath of allegiance) to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi prior to their attacks. The clips were then released online by the Islamic State’s propaganda arms, either via Amaq News Agency or Furat Media. (The list presented here is an updated version of an analysis previously published by FDD’s Long War Journal.)

On July 18, 2016, an Afghan teenage refugee bordered a train in the German city of Würzburg and hacked at passengers. The teenager, identified as Muhammad Riyad, brandished a knife in an Amaq video as he swore his loyalty to Baghdadi. (The Grozny attacker repeated this scene.)

On July 24, 2016, a veteran jihadist from Syria blew himself up, perhaps accidentally, outside of a music festival in Ansbach, Germany. More than a dozen people were injured. The bomber, identified as Mohammad Daleel, rehearsed the oath of allegiance to Baghdadi in an Amaq video released online two days after his attack.

On July 26, 2016, a pair of jihadists assaulted a church during morning mass in Normandy, France, killing an elderly priest and taking several people hostage before being gunned down by police. Amaq’s video showed the two performing the oath of allegiance to Baghdadi shortly before carrying out the murder.

On Aug. 17, 2016, two young jihadists, identified as Uthman Mardalov and Salim Israilov, assaulted Russian policemen in Balashikha, which is east of Moscow. The pair swore allegiance to Baghdadi in footage that was disseminated by Amaq.

On Dec. 19, 2016, Anis Amri, a Tunisian man, drove a large lorry into a crowded Christmas market in Berlin. Twelve people were killed in his vehicular assault. Days later, Amri was subsequently killed during a shootout with Italian police in Milan. Amaq released a video of Amri swearing allegiance to Baghdadi, and US officials discovered that he had ties to Islamic State operatives in Italy.

On Aug. 19, 2017, a young man went on a stabbing rampage in the Russian city of Surgat, wounding eight people. The terrorist was shot and killed by authorities. Two days later, on Aug. 21, Furat media (another Islamic State propaganda arm) released a short video featuring the jihadist responsible for the Surgat assault. The masked man, identified as Masa’ud al-Surghuti, swore allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, whom he addressed as the “Emir of the Believers” and the caliph. Al-Surghuti called upon supporters to lash out with the simplest weapons they can find, including household tools.

Then, on Mar. 20, a lone assailant stabbed and slashed at police in Grozny, the capital of Chechnya. Shortly afterwards, Amaq News released a video of the Baghdadi loyalist brandishing a knife as he sat in front of a small Islamic State flag on the wall behind him. He addressed the “brothers” who are on “social networks” and implored them to lash out. He told fellow believers that they should kidnap or kill “all apostates” wherever they may live.

Screen shots from Amaq’s videos of the Würzburg, Ansbach, Normandy, Balashikha, Berlin, Surgat and Grozny terrorists swearing allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi: images here

Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for FDD's Long War Journal.

Follow the Foundation for Defense of Democracies on Twitter @FDD. FDD is a Washington-based nonpartisan research institute focusing on national security and foreign policy.

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abu-bakr-al-baghdadi, europe, islamic-state, jihadists, paris, paris-attack, terrorist-attack