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After terror attacks in Paris on Friday killed more than 100 people and left scores injured, a new, unverified video attributed to the Islamic State singles out the District as a target. The existence of the video, found on an online message-board often used by ISIS, was reported by Reuters Monday morning.
A man depicted in the video and identified in subtitles as Al Ghareeb the Algerian states that more Paris-style attacks are coming to the U.S. and Europe, as an international coalition of countries launches air strikes on ISIS-controlled land in Syria.”We say to the states that take part in the crusader campaign that, by God, you will have a day, God willing, like France’s and by God, as we struck France in the center of its abode in Paris, then we swear that we will strike America at its center in Washington,” the man says. “I say to the European countries that we are coming, coming with booby traps and explosives, coming with explosive belts and (gun) silencers and you will be unable to stop us because today we are much stronger than before.”
Asked about the credibility of the video, a spokesperson for the FBI’s Washington Field Office responded with a statement it had issued this weekend:
“The Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are closely monitoring the unfolding events in Paris and we remain in contact with our counterparts in the region. At this time, there is no specific or credible threat to the United States. We will not hesitate to adjust our security posture, as appropriate, to protect the American people. DHS and the FBI routinely share information with our state, local, federal, and international law enforcement, intelligence and homeland security partners, and continually evaluate the level of protection we provide at federal facilities.”
The Metropolitan Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the alleged ISIS video. On Saturday, Police Chief Cathy Lanier sent an email to police listservs stating that MPD had dispatched more officers to the streets “until such time as more information becomes available on [the Paris] attack, and we feel circumstances dictate that they are no longer needed.”
“Simply reporting a suspicious activity, however small, may be the linchpin in disrupting a pending attack before it can be acted upon,” she wrote. “With this said, let me be clear—there is no known, credible threat to [D.C.], at this time. However, we must always remember that Washington will always be an attractive target to those wishing to do harm to us.”
French President François Hollande called the attacks in Paris “an act of war that was committed by a terrorist army, a jihadist army, [ISIS/ISIL].”
Update 7:35 p.m.: Lanier provided a statement to City Desk: “We will continue to monitor intelligence reports and work with our federal partners to authenticate and determine the credibility of this new threat. MPD will maintain a proactive posture in response to the tragic events in Paris and the recent threats against our city. Additionally, our resource deployment and staffing have been enhanced.”
Screen grab of Islamic State video