Fox News, June 26, 2015:
Terrorists struck around the world Friday, beheading a man in France, gunning down dozens on a beach in Tunisia and launching a suicide attack on a mosque in Kuwait, in a series of attacks that followed an ISIS leaders’ call to make the month of Ramadan a time of “calamity for the infidels.”
There was no confirmation that any of the attacks were ordered by ISIS, although the suspects who attacked a U.S.-owned gas factory in southeastern France left the terrorist army’s flags next to the severed head of their victim. If the attacks were indeed an answer to ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani’s recent call for savagery, it would represent a hideous perversion of Islam’s most holy period, which began June 17 and ends July 17.
Jihadists should make Ramadan a time of “calamity for the infidels … Shi’ites and apostate Muslims,” Al-Adnani said in a recent audio message. “Muslims everywhere, we congratulate you over the arrival of the holy month. Be keen to conquer in this holy month and to become exposed to martyrdom.”
The attack in France occurred first, at 9:50 a.m. local time in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, northwest of the Alpine city of Grenoble. Two suspects dressed as deliverymen crashed a car into an industrial gas plant operated by Allentown, Pa.,-based Air Products & Chemicals, stormed inside and killed at least one person. The head of the victim— a local transportation company businessman–was left on a fence, with Arabic phrases scrawled on it and ISIS flags nearby,Sky News reported, citing French legal sources.
Nearly simultaneously, two gunmen attacked two hotels in a Tunisian coastal town popular with British tourists, killing at least 27. Although there was no immediate word on the victims, the fact that most were on the beach during the holy month indicated that those killed were almost certainly tourists.
A third attack killed at least 16 in a Shia mosque in Kuwait City. ISIS is comprised of Sunni Muslims, and its members have a long and bloody history with Shia Muslims, as evidenced by Al-Adnani’s call. The attack came immediately following Friday prayers. There was no claim of responsibility, but ISIS has claimed responsibility for bombings at two different Shiite mosques in Saudi Arabia in recent weeks.
French officials wasted no time labeling Friday’s attack an act of terrorism.
“The attack was of a terrorist nature since a body was discovered, decapitated and with inscriptions,” French President Francois Hollande told a news conference in Brussels, where he cut short his attendance at an EU summit to return to France.
At least one man, who authorities said was a 30-year-old extremist known to authorities, was under arrest following the France attack. There were unconfirmed reports of others arrested or killed, but a manhunt is underway for any other suspects involved in the attack.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, speaking from the scene, described the attack as “barbarous” and a “terrible terrorist crime.” He said the suspect had been known to foreign intelligence services since 2006, but that police monitoring of him had ceased in 2008. The man did not have a criminal record, the minister added.
French authorities told Fox News that approximately 10 people were injured.
The factory is operated by Air Products & Chemicals, an Allentown, Pa.,-based company that makes industrial gases.
“Our priority at this stage is to take care of our employees, who have been evacuated from the site and all accounted for,” the company said in a statement. “Our crisis and emergency response teams have been activated and are working closely with all relevant authorities.”
A local official confirmed the nation is on high alert.
“The terrorism threat is at a maximum,” Alain Juppe, mayor of Bordeaux, told Fox News.
The attack came months after well-known ISIS social media accounts and propaganda video threatened attacks in the U.S., Belgium and France.
“We advise you that we will come to you with car bombs and explosive charges and we will cut off your heads,” stated one such threat that mirrored Friday morning’s attack.
France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor has opened an investigation into the incident. The country went on high alert after a series of attacks in January that left 20 people dead in and around Paris region, including the Islamic terrorists.
France has been grappling with radical Islam for several years, with the Jan. 7 attack at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo putting the nation’s homegrown terrorism problem in the spotlight earlier this year.
In that attack, two radical Muslim brothers, Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, heavily armed and incensed over the publishing of caricatures of Muhammad, stormed the magazine’s offices and killed 12, including staffers and a police officer. Authorities hunted down the Kouachi brothers for three days, until finally cornering them in a printing house near Paris’ Charles de Gaulle international airport, and killing them in a shootout.
As police searched for the brothers’, a friend and fellow home grown Islamic terrorist Amedy Coulibaly, took at least 15 people hostage at a kosher supermarket in Paris. After a long standoff– with Coulibaly threatening to kill all his hostages unless the Kouachis be allowed to go free– police stormed the market, killing him. Four hostages were also killed in the incident.
Fox News Channel’s Catherine Herridge and The Associated Press contributed to this report.