Isis video shows Paris attackers earlier in Syria and Iraq
Seven of the France attackers shown addressing the camera one by one
Islamic State released a video on Sunday apparently showing footage of the men who carried out the November attacks in Paris while they were in Syria and Iraq, where they are pictured carrying out executions, including beheadings.
If the identities of all the men in the video are confirmed, it would be the first evidence that the group that killed 130 people in coordinated attacks in Paris on November 13th had been sent from the Islamic State’s base in Syria.
It is unclear why it took Islamic State (also known as Isis) more than two months to release the video, which also includes numerous images of the Paris attacks. Under the headline “Target Area: Paris,” it shows frantic televised scenes of soccer players and fans reacting to explosions at the Stade du France, and chaos on the streets near the Bataclan and other venues where the mass shootings took place.
Islamic State began teasing the release of the video last week in Dabiq, its monthly magazine, where a still image of the video appeared. Several of the assailants pictured in Syria or Iraq are seen wearing what appear to be lapel microphones suggesting that they were recording themselves.
The existence of prerecorded videos is important in the debate about whether earlier attackers had been deputised by an Islamic extremist group before acting.
In the January 2015 attacks in Paris on the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine (claimed by adherents of al-Qaeda) and on a kosher supermarket (claimed by a man acting in the name of Islamic State) some analysts argued that if those groups had sent the attackers the men would have made videos in the groups’ respective territories.
Though at least one of the Kouachi brothers, who carried out the Charlie Hebdo attacks, was known to have traveled to Yemen to train with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, no video has surfaced of either brother in Yemen or in the presence of other al-Qaeda members.
In the Isis video released Sunday, seven of the Paris attackers are shown addressing the camera, one by one, on a windswept dune. The youngest of the group, Bilal Hadfi (20),who broke down weeping when he said goodbye to his mother in Belgium before leaving for Syria last year is shown with a prisoner kneeling at his feet.
He pushes the man to the ground and beheads him. Samy Amimour, from the Drancy suburb of Paris whose 67-year-old father traveled to Syria in a failed attempt to retrieve him, smiles as he holds a captive’s head. And Omar Ismail Mostefai, who blew himself up inside the Bataclan concert hall, is shown holding another victim by the nape of his neck. “Know that we have received an order from the Emir of the Believers to kill you wherever you are,” he says, using the honorific for the leader of Isis, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
One of the only attackers who is not shown executing a captive is Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who appears in a room with the Islamic State flag. “We will not stop fighting you in every part of the world regardless of whether you are on a tourism trip or a work trip,” he says in French. “So expect more. Expect a mujahid to show up to kill you.” The video also states that Isis has plans to attack Britain. It shows images of politicians, including British prime minister David Cameron, as they authorize military action against the group.