Some Arabic and Kurdish sources in Mosul, Iraq, are reporting that Sheikh Abu Saad Ansari, the head of preachers in Islamic State, has said IS is responsible for the terror attacks in Paris.
It is believed that he warned in his Friday prayer at Rahman Mosque in Mosul, that what happened in France is a message to all the international coalition countries and will be repeated in all of Britain and America.
The brothers, accused of the killings at the Paris office of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, have linked themselves to al-Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula, as have police and the authorities in France, where it is reported one of the brothers was sentenced to three years for terror offences in 2008.
Thus far no other authorities have linked the attacks to IS, and many analysts say they lack the organisational ability to stage big attacks. However there are hundreds of fighters who have returned to European countries many of whom have disappeared off the authorities’ radar.
Find out the latest developments in France
In the daily Isis Radio statement, Sheikh al-Ansari is believed to have begun his speech with the situation in France. He is reported to have said: “The jihadi operation carried by jihadists in France, where 12 journalists have been killed and tens wounded, in support of our prophet Mohammed, proved that the west understand only this language, since the French government take the decision to forbid mocking our prophet, as the result of the operation.
Our response to the coalition will be decisive.
“We started our operations with France today, and tomorrow (in the near future) it will be in Britain and America and other countries. Our response to the coalition will be decisive.”
In the speech, reported to have been given in the presence of IS commanders, he focused on the fight in Mosul and Sinjar, where IS had lost ground over the past few weeks to Peshmerga and Iraqi forces. He said in a statement that IS would regain the city of Sinjar.
In other developments, IS sources are saying on social media and their media outlets that most brigades and battalions of the Free Syrian Army in the Qalamoun Mountains, which borders Lebanon, have declared their alliance to Islamic State.
It is reported that about 3,000 fighters in the Free Syrian Army joined ranks with IS to fight the Syrian regime, as well as Hezbollah in the area.
At least seven battalions and brigades have declared their alliance including el Farouq, al Qaseir and al Haq, and Turkman brigade.
This latest development comes as IS quietly puts roots in the city of Homs, eclipsing the classical FSA groups in the province. If true, it puts Lebanon in the spotlight of IS operations in the Middle East, as they will be able to mount massive attacks in the eastern borders of Lebanon.
Channel 4 News is awaiting confirmation regarding the claims.