Iraq Says It Warned France of ‘Imminent’ Attacks

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ISIS Flag
Photo: SAFIN HAMED

The Associated Press is reporting that one day before the Paris attacks, Iraqi intelligence officials warned France and other anti-ISIS coalition allies that they should expect “imminent” assaults by the militant group. According to those intelligence officials, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi had ordered attacks “through bombings or assassinations or hostage taking in the coming days.” Though the Iraqi dispatch did not indicate where exactly the attacks would happen, Iraqi officials say they specifically warned France about a potential attack, noting that the attackers had been trained in ISIS-held Raqqa, Syria, and that the attack had been planned there as well. In addition, their intelligence indicated a French sleeper cell had met with the attackers and was helping them with their plan. The anonymous officials say that 19 attackers were involved in the plot, along with five others working logistics. In response, a French security official pointed out to the AP that they receive warnings like this “every day.”

In a related story, New York Times is now saying that French and American officials are emphasizing how sophisticated the Paris attackers were, both in how they planned their assault, as well as how they executed it. This sophistication is thus evidence that the attackers were well trained and equipped by ISIS —  rather than just a bunch of amateurs inspired to violence by the militant group. French and American authorities also have evidence that that the attackers were in communication with ISIS elements in Syria.

Looking elsewhere, the AFP is also now reporting that Turkish authorities foiled a “major” terrorist attack which they believe was set to strike Istanbul on Friday, thus coinciding with the Paris attacks. Turkish police apparently detained five people on Friday in Istanbul, including a known ISIS operative.