Speaking from the Élysée Palace, Francois Hollande has said that the terror attacks which killed 127 in Paris last night were the work of the Islamic State.
What happened yesterday in Paris and in Saint Denis is an act of war and this country needs to make the right decisions to fight this war. This act committed by the terrorist army, Islamic State, is against who we are, against a free country that speaks to the whole world. It is an act of war prepared and planned outside, with outside involvement which this investigation will seek to establish. It is an act of absolute barbarism. France will be ruthless in its response to Islamic State.
Isil claimed responsibility for the attacks earlier today, releasing a statement on Twitter referring to France as sitting atop its list of targets. It also refers to the French airstrikes on Syria, which began last month.
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 the 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 10th, 11th and 18th arrondissement. France and those who follow its path must know they will remain on top of Islamic State targets, and the scent of death will not leave their noses.
...having dared insult our Prophet, having bragged about fighting Islam in France and striking Muslims in the Caliphate with their planes which have not helped them in any way in the foul-smelling streets of Paris. This attack is just the start of a storm and a warning for those who wish to draw lessons.
This follows the earlier release of a video showing a bearded jihadi speaking in Arabic, warning that France...:-
...will not live in peace as long as bombing continues. You will even fear traveling to the market,”
A claim of responsibility proves nothing, of course, but the French authorities do seem convinced that Isil was responsible. This time yesterday, there was rejoicing at reports that US drone strike had killed Jihadi John. For a while, our attention was diverted from the grim reality: that this was a small part of a war whose boundaries have just grown a lot larger.
Unlike Britain, France has actually joined the US military in bombing raids over Isis positions in Syria. Western strategy in Syria may lack purpose or direction but there’s plenty of both in Isil’s attacks. As I argue in this week’s magazine, Isis does seem to be strategic in its choice of enemies. The attack on Russian airliner was also an attack on Egypt, which has been one of the few countries to back the Kremlin's bombing campaign.
Until last night, Isil had not planned many overseas attacks. Last night escalates this to a whole new level. It's hard to argue argue with Hollande's conclusion: that we are facing a new war.