Homeland Security

ISIS Groups Threaten 'Bloody Sunday' Attacks on France Fuel Protesters

An onslaught of new graphic posters and online threats from ISIS supporters urges jihadists to target the large “Gilets jaunes” protests in France that broke out Nov. 17 over frustration with rising gas prices and taxes.

The “yellow vest” demonstrators against Macron government policies, largely rural French clad in roadside safety vests, have blocked roads and clashed with police. Two people have been killed and hundreds injured. More than 100,000 people were drawn to the protests across France this past Saturday.

One poster circulated among ISIS supporters online, showing a terrorist in front of the Eiffel Tower, urged jihadists to make “an appointment with an important event — wait until Sunday.” It included the “Just Terror” catchphrase that ISIS uses for lone jihad.

Another depicted a person wearing a black ball cap and sweatshirt looking out a window, with news photos of the “Gilets jaunes” protests above, and similarly warned of a Sunday attack: “Attendez — Just Terror — sera chez vous, Dimanche, en France.” Yet another warned of a “bloody” Sunday.

And another image showed crosshairs superimposed on yellow-vested protesters on the Champs-Elysées: “O supporter of the caliphate in Europe and more particularly in France: Attack.”

“Oh lone wolves, exploit the demonstrations and kill the deceiving ones,” another poster implored, adding icons of a vehicle striking a person, a hand wielding a knife, another holding a rifle, and another holding a Molotov cocktail. Another image suggested that the yellow vests be met with terrorists wearing suicide vests

There is already online buzz of fresh protests on Saturday, while protest organizers are waiting to see what President Emmanuel Macron says today.

The online ISIS support network has issued other recent threats against France, though not as specific as the multiple calls to take advantage of the protest crowds.

Earlier this month, lone jihadists were encouraged to pick “deadly and easier ways” of attacks in tips circulated online among ISIS supporters, with an image depicting a woman walking on the Palais de Chaillot framed in crosshairs.

The crudely photoshopped image, with the Eiffel Tower in the background, also depicted three victims on the ground at the popular tourist spot as a terrorist sporting a black T-shirt and face mask wielded a bloody knife.

“Lone wolves” were advised to “prepare a plan and study it correctly,” and “if the plan is prepared, trust in Allah.”

The first suggested method of attack was running over people with a heavy truck, like Nice in 2016, “if available.” Then comes “butchering and bayonet” and attacking “their gatherings.” That’s followed by “snatched [sic] them from their house one by one.”

France frequently figures into propaganda from ISIS and their online support network, as the November 2015 Paris attackers are lionized as key examples of a waging an assault on one’s home turf.

A recent call to arms from ISIS-backing media group Al-Abd Al-Faqir, issued after the Melbourne knife attack this month, depicted the Eiffel Tower in flames with the “Just Terror” slogan. A black-clad jihadist wearing a leather, zip-front vest stood before the scene, with the message, “Terrorize them in their lands. O Crusaders, we have prepared for you what never crossed your mind. For our goal is to horrify you and terrorize you and harm you.”