On multiple occasions this week AlertsUSA subscribers were notified via SMS messages to their mobile devices regarding an ongoing terrorism situation in France, warnings issued to U.S. citizen in the country and new warnings issued regarding potential mass casualty attacks on western targets.
Early Wed morning AlertsUSA subscribers were notified of a terror attack on the Paris office of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo which publishes cartoons mocking Islam and other religions. 12 people were killed and 11 others injured in the attack.
Raw Video of Getaway (GRAPHIC)
Follow-On Attacks Planned
French investigators believe the group had plans for follow-on attacks as the getaway car used in the massacre, then abandoned, was found to contain found a dozen Molotov petrol bombs as well as two black jihadi flags.
French Websites Hacked
As the crises began to unfold, the websites of several French municipalities were hacked, with the main landing pages replaced by the black flag of the Islamic State.
U.S. Embassy Warning
On Wednesday, AlertsUSA subscribers were notified that the U.S. Embassy in Paris issued a security message for American citizens in the country warning that the French government has increased the security posture around Paris media outlets, major shopping venues, sites of religions worship, and transportation networks. The U.S. State Department is encouraging U.S. citizens to maintain a high level of vigilance, be aware of local events, and take the appropriate steps to bolster their personal security.
Friday morning, AlertsUSA subscribers were notified that two separate hostage incidents had developed. One in Northeast France involving the original shooters from the magazine office attack, and a second related incident involving another shooter who killed a Paris police officer.
Final assaults on both hostage locations were carried out by France's National Gendarmerie Intervention Group, (French: Groupe d'Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale, or GIGN), a Tier 1 special operations unit of the French Armed Forces. GIGN frequently cross-trains with U.S. special operations forces and are considered one of the top counterterrorism units in the world.
Final Counter-Terrorism Assault 1 (Alt View)
Final Counter-Terrorism Assault 2 (Alt View) (Aftermath - GRAPHIC)
Yemen Branch of al-Qaeda Claims Responsibility
A source within al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has provided The Intercept with a full statement claiming responsibility for the attack against the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris.
MI5 Warns of Attacks on Western Countries
Late this week AlertsUSA subscribers were notified that the head of Britain's domestic counter-intelligence and security agency known as MI5 publicly warned that al Qaeda in Syria was planning mass casualty attacks on Western targets. As a reminder, Britain’s terror alert remains at the second highest level of “severe”, which means an attack is considered highly likely.
A large portion of Europe's immigrant population comes from N. Africa and the Middle East. Approximately 10% of France's 60 million citizens are Muslim, the largest such density in the European Union. This number may actually be higher but French law prohibits collecting official statistics about the race or religion of its citizens.
In another more alarming figure, officials in France estimate that more than 1000 of their citizens are involved in the jihad in Iraq and Syria. According to the most recent estimates, the British government has confirmed at least 600 of their citizens are in Iraq in Syria to fight for Islamist groups, though intelligence serves estimate that number could be as high as 2000. Several other EU nations, including Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands each have hundreds of their citizens involved in the fight.
And it is not just the Europeans. U.S. intelligence sources indicate that hundreds of American Muslims are now in the Middle East training with and fighting for the Islamic State.
A VERY REAL DANGER TO THE U.S.
Many of these individuals whom have traveled to the Middle East to train and fight are now starting to trickle back into their home countries, including here in the U.S.. Given the ability of EU passport holders to travel freely to the U.S. without a visa, the threat of terrorist attacks here in America is growing by the day. Additionally, U.S. intelligence sources indicate Islamic State fighters are posing as Syrian refugees in order to enter Europe. While no formal statement has been issued regarding a similar threat involving the thousands of Syrian refugees being resettled in the U.S., simple logic would dictate this would be the case.
FBI Director James Comey has previously warned that jihadists in the Syrian conflict could eventually strike the U.S. (see this, this and this), like those who masterminded the 9/11 attacks in 2001, years after being trained and radicalized for the war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.
Over the past year alone, AlertsUSA has warned on a least a dozen different occasions of the growing threat of terrorism facing this country, from radicalized Muslims returning from the battlefield in Iraq and Syria to threats against the aviation sector to so called lone wolf terrorists inspired by calls to wage jihad.
WHAT THIS MEANS TO YOU
AlertsUSA again cautions readers that despite a lack of any recent large scale terror attacks on the homeland, it is certainly not for a lack of trying. A friendly conversation with any federal agent or member of the special operations or intelligence communities on the topic will reveal that there is a near CONSTANT flow of individuals, organizations and foreign states attempting to do harm to this country and its citizens. To think this is all hype, fear mongering or false flag operations is both dangerously naive and near sighted.
24,000+ Muslim Terror Attacks Since 9/11
Facts are stubborn things, and one which even the most diehard dove or conspiracy theorist cannot deny is that since 9/11 there have been more than 24,000 separate terrorist attacks committed, by Muslims, around the world. Only a small fraction of these attacks are categorized as battlefield actions against U.S. or Western soldiers. The majority are incidents like attacks on schools and churches, suicide bombings on buses, car bombings in marketplaces, beheadings and crucifixions for either not being Muslim, or not being Muslim enough, and so on. And this number does not include other types of terror incidents, such as cyber attacks on financial institutions and other attacks on critical infrastructure.
While it is the popular notion that the U.S. and other Western countries do not fight religious wars, we urge readers to think clearly on this issue. The other side IS fighting a religious war against us and they make their goal of Islam and Sharia conquering the U.S. and other Western nations explicitly clear (see this, this, this, this and this).
These dangers are here, their existence is undeniable and the need to have such threats on your radar is essential.
So as to reinforce the seriousness of the threat of domestic terrorism, the following is a quote from U.S. government's Worldwide Caution to American citizens issued January 9, 2015:
"Extremists may elect to use conventional or non-conventional weapons, and target both official and private interests. Examples of such targets include high-profile sporting events, residential areas, business offices, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, public areas, shopping malls, and other tourist destinations both in the United States and abroad where U.S. citizens gather in large numbers, including during holidays."
"U.S. citizens are reminded of the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure. Extremists have targeted and attempted attacks on subway and rail systems, aviation, and maritime services. In the past, these types of attacks have occurred in cities such as Moscow, London, Madrid, Glasgow, and New York City."
AlertsUSA strongly recommends maintaining an appropriate level of situational awareness when out and about and to be prepared for emergencies.
As has been the case for over 12 years, AlertsUSA continues to closely monitor the overall domestic and international terrorism threat environment and will immediately notify service subscribers of new alerts, warnings and advisories or any developments which signal a change the overall threat picture for American citizens, as events warrant.