Western allies reject ISIS leader’s threats against their civilians
(CNN) — Western allies vowed a tough fight against ISIS on Monday after the terrorist group called for attacks against them.
“This call for the murder of civilians along with the execution of hostages and mass slaughters testifies once again, if necessary, of the terrorists’ cruelty and justifies a tireless fight,” French Interior Minister Bernard Caseneuve said in a statement.
“We are giving our law enforcement and security agencies the resources and legislative powers they need to keep Australia and Australians as safe as possible,” the Australian Prime Minister’s office said.
The UK Home Office issued a response focused specifically on the fact that the threat was released online. “The Government will not tolerate the existence of online terrorist and extremist propaganda,” the office said.
The three countries, part of the U.S.-led coalition taking on the Islamist militant group, were the first to respond to a new audio recording in which a senior ISIS leader, for the first time, explicitly called for attacks in the United States and on the home soil of Western allies.
The leader specifically called for lone-wolf attacks in the United States and France — two countries that have been conducting airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq.
“Hinder those who want to harm your brothers,” the ISIS spokesman said. “The best thing you can do is to strive to your best and kill any disbeliever, whether he be French, American or from any of their allies.”
Civilians should not be exempt from brutality, he said. “Do not ask for anyone’s advice and do not seek anyone’s verdict. Kill the disbeliever whether he is civilian or military, for they have the same ruling. Both of them are disbelievers. Both of them are considered to be waging war.”
“Oh Americans, and oh Europeans, the Islamic State did not initiate a war against you, as your governments and media try to make you believe,” the ISIS spokesman added. “It is you who started the transgression against us, and thus you deserve blame and you will pay a great price.”
He gave specifics on how to attack Westerners: “Rig the roads with explosives for them. Attack their bases. Raid their homes. Cut off their heads. Do not let them feel secure. Hunt them wherever they may be. Turn their worldly life into fear and fire. Remove their families from their homes and thereafter blow up their homes.”
Al Qaeda has called for similar attacks in the past. But given ISIS’ radical support base, which believes ISIS leaders are the rightful sovereign ruler of all Muslims worldwide, the ISIS pronouncement carries more weight.
France: We are not afraid
“Their threats will not deter our determination to end their acts of violence and rescue persecuted populations,” Caseneuve said.
“France is not afraid” because it is “not the first time we have been threatened by terrorist groups that attack our values of tolerance, humanism, respect for human rights and democracy,” he added.
“France is not afraid because it does not intend to give in to terrorist traps. It knows that unity, serenity and citizens’ vigilance is the best answer that can be enforced against them. France is not afraid because it is prepared to respond to its threats.”
Australia: ‘Be confident’
The Australian Prime Minister’s office released a statement Monday saying it is treating the ISIS statement as genuine.
“We are giving our law enforcement and security agencies the resources and legislative powers they need to keep Australia and Australians as safe as possible,” the office said.
But it also fired back at the radical militant group.
ISIS “will claim that our involvement in this international effort is the reason they are targeting us, but these people do not attack us for what we do, but for who we are and how we live,” the statement said.
“Australians should continue to be confident to go about their daily lives as normal.”