France on Alert for Revenge Attacks after Baghdadi’s Death
French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, in a letter to police prefects, called on Sunday for increased vigilance to prevent possible revenge attacks following the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in northwest Syria.
The possible intensification of extremist propaganda following Baghdadi’s death, “which could possibly call for acts of vengeance, requires the most extreme vigilance, notable during public events in your departments in coming days," Castaner said, according to Reuters.
One of the few senior ISIS commanders still at large, Baghdadi died Saturday when he detonated his suicide vest in a tunnel while being pursued by US forces in Syria's Idlib province, killing himself and three of his children, US President Donald Trump announced Sunday. He was believed to be 48.
"He didn't die a hero, he died a coward, crying, whimpering and screaming," Trump said.
Castaner said last week that intelligence services had arrested a man for planning an attack inspired by plane attacks on the World Trade Center in New York in Sept. 2001.
France has for several years grappled with how to respond to both homegrown extremists and foreign militants following a series of attacks across the country.
France has seen more than 230 people killed in the last four years on its territory from militant attacks, notably in Nov. 2015 after coordinated strikes across the capital.
The attacks were claimed by ISIS, and were carried out in part by French-born extremists.