IS group claims Paris attacks, says France at ‘top’ of list

Islamic State fighters in 2014, seen here in Anbar province, with Abu Waheeb in the foreground. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

CAIRO (AP) — The Islamic State group on Saturday claimed responsibility for a wave of attacks in Paris that killed 127 people and said France would remain at the “top of the list” of its targets.

An online statement said eight militants armed with explosive belts and automatic weapons attacked carefully chosen targets in the “capital of adultery and vice,” including a soccer stadium where France was playing Germany, and the Bataclan concert hall, where an American rock band was playing, and “hundreds of apostates were attending an adulterous party.”

The statement said France and its supporters “will remain at the top of the list of targets of the Islamic State.”

Victims of a shooting attack lay on the pavement outside La Belle Equipe restaurant in Paris Friday, Nov. 13, 2015.  Well over 100 people were killed in Paris on Friday night in a series of shooting, explosions. (Anne Sophie Chaisemartin via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
Victims of a shooting attack lay on the pavement outside La Belle Equipe restaurant in Paris Friday, Nov. 13, 2015. Well over 100 people were killed in Paris on Friday night in a series of shooting, explosions. (Anne Sophie Chaisemartin via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

“The stench of death will not leave their noses as long as they remain at the forefront of the Crusaders’ campaign, dare to curse our prophet, boast of a war on Islam in France, and strike Muslims in the lands of the caliphate with warplanes that were of no use to them in the streets and rotten alleys of Paris,” it said.

France is part of the U.S.-led coalition that has been striking the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq for the past year, and has been targeted by jihadists in the past because of its perceived tolerance of speech deemed offensive to Islam.

A woman stands outside the Bataclan concert hall, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015 in Paris. French President Francois Hollande said at least 127 people died Friday night in shootings at Paris cafes, suicide bombings near France's national stadium and a hostage-taking slaughter inside a concert hall. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
A woman stands outside the Bataclan concert hall, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015 in Paris. French President Francois Hollande said at least 127 people died Friday night in shootings at Paris cafes, suicide bombings near France’s national stadium and a hostage-taking slaughter inside a concert hall. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

The claim was made in statements in Arabic and French released online and circulated by supporters of the group. Supporters also circulated an audio version read by an unidentified speaker whose voice strongly resembled that of an announcer for the IS radio station Al-Bayan. It was not immediately possible to confirm the authenticity of the statements, but they bore the extremists’ logo and resembled previous IS statements.

The statements did not provide the nationalities or other information about the attackers.

French President Francois Hollande had earlier blamed the carnage on the Islamic State group and vowed to strike back.

French anti-terror police were working to identify potential accomplices. Authorities said eight attackers died, seven of them in suicide bombings, a new tactic in France. Police said they shot and killed the other assailant.

Jihadists have targeted France on a number of occasions, including in January, when gunmen stormed the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine that had published caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad deemed offensive to Muslims. That attack, which killed 12 people, was claimed by al-Qaida.

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