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Monday 19 March 2018

Terror threats will not weaken France's resolve - Hollande

A woman is evacuated from the Bataclan concert hall after gunmen attacked the venue in the Paris terror attacks (AP)
A woman is evacuated from the Bataclan concert hall after gunmen attacked the venue in the Paris terror attacks (AP)

France will not allow threats to weaken its resolve against terrorism, President Francois Hollande has vowed.

He spoke out on Monday, hours after Islamic State released a video showing the extremists who carried out the November 13 attacks in Paris training, beheading and shooting captives in territory controlled by the group.

He said that it was because of the threat that he is asking to keep France in a state of emergency.

Mr Hollande imposed the state of emergency just after the November attacks which left 130 dead in the capital, allowing border checks, warrantless searches and house arrest without a court order.

The primarily French-language footage released on Sunday was apparently filmed in IS territory before the attackers slipped back into Europe.

The 17-minute video shows the extent of the planning that went into the multiple attacks in Paris, which French authorities have said from the beginning were organised in Syria.

The video was provided online by the Site Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadi websites, and in it IS - also known as Daesh - also threatens to attack Britain.

All nine militants seen in the video died in the Paris attacks or their aftermath. Seven of the attackers - four from Belgium and three from France - spoke fluent French. The two others - identified by their noms de guerre as Iraqis - spoke in Arabic.

Seven of the militants, including a 20-year-old who was the youngest of the group, were filmed standing behind bound captives, described as "apostates", who were either beheaded or shot.

"Soon on the Champs-Elysees," says Samy Amimour, who was raised in a Paris suburb near the French national stadium, as he holds a captive's head aloft.

The November 13 attacks targeted a packed concert hall, a restaurant and cafe, and a football match at the national stadium.

French foreign ministry spokesman Romain Nadal said the government is studying the video.

The video was filmed before the men sneaked back into Europe and contains no footage shot by the attackers during the days of terror that began ended only on November 18 with the death of Abdelhamid Abbaoud, believed to be the leader of the attacks.

It was assembled from material shot before the men left for Paris, news video and amateur video.

The video did not specify where the nine men were filmed, but it was thought to have been in IS-controlled territory in Syria. Abbaoud is seen simply speaking in a room

One militant, Brahim Abdeslam, is seen at a makeshift shooting range. Abdeslam, whose brother Salah fled Paris that night and remains at large, blew himself up at a Paris cafe where he was the only victim. Salah Abdeslam is not seen in the video.

According to the anti-IS activist group Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently, Brahim Abdeslam and two other attackers were trained in Raqqa, the extremist group's stronghold and the capital of its self-proclaimed caliphate.

In the video, as in other IS propaganda trying to drive a wedge between European Muslims and their governments, the men say it is a religious duty to join them.

They threaten more attacks in Europe, including Britain, and the video closes with one of the militants holding a severed head, and footage of Prime Minister David Cameron giving a speech.

The text in English warns that whoever stands with the unbelievers "will be a target for our swords".

Press Association

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