Alleged ISIS video threatens Paris-style attacks in Washington

By the time the death toll in Paris hit 129 on Monday morning, a video of Islamic State militants promising to emulate the Paris massacre on the streets of Washington D.C., had already gone viral.

Introduced as “Al Karar the Iraqi,” a man in the 11-minute video insists that ISIS will “strike America at its center in Washington,” as it did in the French capital.

“Terrorism will not destroy the republic, because it is the republic that will destroy it.”

The threat was purportedly issued by Wilayat Kirkuk, a branch of the Islamic State that claims several-thousand square miles of territory in northern Iraq, encompassing Kirkuk, Chamchamal, Daquq, among other towns and cities.

A second man in the footage, “Al Ghareeb the Algerian,” vows to European nations: “We are coming… with booby traps and explosives, coming with explosive belts and silencers, and you will be unable to stop us because today we are much stronger than before.”

The Daily Dot was unable to immediately verify the video’s authenticity. 

French officials say the serial bombings and mass shootings carried out Nov. 13 were the work of eight men. Seven died in the attacks, all but one by detonating an explosive-packed suicide belt. Now, an international manhunt is now underway to locate Salah Abdeslam, a 26-year-old French national from Brussel, identified by France as the eighth and final Paris gunman. 

Abdeslam’s order brother, Ibrahim Abdeslam, died after he triggered his suicide belt Friday night inside Comptoir Voltaire, a cafe near the Bataclan concert venue, where 89 people were brutally murdered. 

France has named Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a 27-year-old Belgian national, as the leader of the cell, and the “mastermind” behind the Paris massacre. Authorities say he’s the lead suspect in a foiled January 2015 Belgium terrorist plot, and had a hand in a attack thwarted by three American travelers this August on a high-speed train from Brussels to Paris. 

Asked about the threat to Washington on Monday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation pointed to a joint statement issued last week by it and the Department of Homeland Security: “At this time, there is no specific or credible threat to the United States.”

“We will not hesitate to adjust our security posture, as appropriate, to protect the American people,” the agencies continued. “DHS and the FBI routinely share information with our state, local, federal, and international law enforcement, intelligence and homeland security partners, and continually evaluate the level of protection we provide at federal facilities.”

Addressing lawmakers on Monday, President Francois Hollande said that France’s democracy “has prevailed over much more formidable opponents than these cowardly assassins.” Hollande requested from Parliament legislation that would make it easier to conduct police raids and place people under house arrest without a judge’s permission.

“Terrorism will not destroy the republic,” said Hollande, “because it is the republic that will destroy it.”

Correction: The death toll in Paris due to Friday’s attack remains at 129, not 132. According to the New York Times, the higher number originates from a Paris public hospital statement noting three deaths, which had already been counted by the city’s prosecutor. 

Photo via Maya-Anaïs Yataghène/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Dell Cameron

Dell Cameron

Dell Cameron was a reporter at the Daily Dot who covered security and politics. In 2015, he revealed the existence of an American hacker on the U.S. government's terrorist watchlist. He is a co-author of the Sabu Files, an award-nominated investigation into the FBI's use of cyber-informants. He became a staff writer at Gizmodo in 2017.