Saturday, 11 February 2017

French Islamist militant Kassim may have died in Mosul strike: Reports

French Islamist militant Kassim may have died in Mosul strike: Reports

11 Feb 2017

French-born Islamist militant Rachid Kassim, suspected of inspiring several attacks in France, is believed to have been killed in an anti-Islamic State strike by coalition forces in the Iraqi city of Mosul, French media reported Friday. Contacted by AFP, the French DGSC intelligence service declined to comment as did the US Defense Department in Washington.
A source close to the matter told AFP that French authorities are trying to confirm the media reports of Kassim's death as US-backed Iraqi forces battle to take back the remaining western districts of Mosul that are still under IS control.
"We can't 100 percent confirm (the death of Kassim) but it is possible," another French source close to the case said.
Kassim is believed to have inspired an attack last year in which a senior French policeman and his partner were knifed to death and another in which an elderly priest's throat was cut.
He is suspected of using the encrypted Telegram app to direct attacks on France from IS-controlled territory in Iraq or Syria.
Originally from Roanne in the Loire Valley, the young man in his thirties is suspected of guiding the attacks in France from Syria and has launched on the internet numerous murderous appeals.
Dressed in camouflage fatigues, a turban on his head, the black-bearded Kassim was seen in July in an IS propaganda video in which he praised the attacker in the Nice truck massacre that killed 86 people on the July 14 holiday.
France, which is taking part in the US-led anti-IS coalition in Iraq and Syria, has been the target of a series of militant attacks since 2015 that left 238 people dead.

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