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      Islamic State Calls France One of Its 'Principal Targets' in Statement Claiming Paris Attacks

      Islamic State Calls France One of Its 'Principal Targets' in Statement Claiming Paris Attacks Islamic State Calls France One of Its 'Principal Targets' in Statement Claiming Paris Attacks Islamic State Calls France One of Its 'Principal Targets' in Statement Claiming Paris Attacks
      Photo by Laurent Dubrule/EPA

      Terror In Paris

      Islamic State Calls France One of Its 'Principal Targets' in Statement Claiming Paris Attacks

      By VICE News

      The Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for the attacks that killed at least 128 people in Paris on Friday night.

      In an official statement released in Arabic and French on Saturday, the group said its fighters — strapped with suicide bombing belts and wielding machine guns — carried out the attacks in various locations in the heart of the French capital.

      The attacks were designed to show France would remain a top target for the jihadist group as long as the country continues its current policies, the IS statement said.

      "Eight brothers carrying explosive belts and guns targeted areas in the heart of the French capital that were specifically chosen in advance: the Stade de France during a match against Germany which that imbecile Francois Hollande was attending; the Bataclan where hundreds of idolaters were together in a party of perversity as well as other targets in the tenth, eleventh and eighteenth arrondissement," the group said.

      "France and those who follow its path must know that they remain the principal targets of the Islamic State," the statement added.

      The group hinted at the possibility of more attacks in the future. "The smell of death will never leave their noses as long as they lead the convoy of the Crusader campaign," the statement said, adding that its members "are proud of fighting Islam in France and striking the Muslims in the land of the Caliphate with their planes, which did not help them at all in the streets of Paris and its rotten alleys, and this attack is the first of the storm and a warning to those who wish to learn."

      Earlier on Saturday, IS distributed an undated video threatening to attack France if bombings of its fighters continued.

      The group's foreign media arm, Al-Hayat Media Centre, made threats through several militants who called on French Muslims to carry out attacks.

      "As long as you keep bombing you will not live in peace. You will even fear traveling to the market," said one of the militants, identified as Abu Maryam the Frenchman.

      The group has previously called for "lone wolf" attacks in France.

      French President Francois Hollande has called Friday's attacks "an act of war" organized from abroad by IS while using internal help.

      "Fellow citizens, what happened yesterday in Paris and Saint-Denis near the Stade de France was an act of war," Hollande said. "Faced with war, the country has to take appropriate steps. It's an act of war which was committed by a terrorist army — Daesh (IS) — an Islamist army, against France, against the values we uphold throughout the world, against who we are, a free country, which speaks to the whole planet."

      Hollande also announced three days of national mourning.

      Meanwhile, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has responded to the news of the attacks by saying Western support of insurgents in Syria has fuelled the "expansion of terror" abroad, according to state media reports.

      The coordinated and planned attacks came as IS lost control of the Sinjar region of northern Iraq in the face of a Kurdish offensive backed-up by US airpower. IS has controlled Sinjar since the summer of 2014. On Friday, the Kurdish force that retook the area tweeted that IS was "defeated and on the run."

      IS also carried out two deadly attacks in Iraq on Friday, killing a combined 26 people. On Thursday, the group claimed responsibility for twin bombings in Beirut that killed at least 43, one of the worst terrorist attacks Lebanon has seen in years.

      Friday's Paris attack also comes 10 months after the attack on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo that shocked France and the international community. That attack was orchestrated by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. 

      Follow VICE News on Twitter: @vicenews

      Reuters contributed to this report.

      Topics: paris, islamic state, france, terrorism, suicide attacks, francois hollande, europe, war & conflict, terror in paris, paris attacks

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