For the first time, the Islamic State (IS, former ISIS, ISIL) has targeted France’s right-wing National Front (FN) party and its supporters in a statement on the pages of its French-language propaganda magazine.
In the latest issue of Dar al Islam, the jihadists published a photo of an FN rally with the caption “prime targets.”
“The question is no longer whether France will be hit again by attacks like those of November… The only relevant question is the next target and the date,” the text read, as cited by Le Figaro.
A photo of an FN rally with the accompanying quote was tweeted by Romain Caillet, an Islamist expert and historian of global jihadist movements.
In response, the secretary general of the National Front challenged Prime Minister Manual Valls on Twitter, asking him if he was “satisfied,” referring to the PM’s harsh rhetoric condemning the right-wing party. Speaking on France Inter in December, Valls described FN as “racist and anti-Semitic,” while claiming that if they won power in regional polls, it could lead to “civil war” in France.
Caillet suggested on Twitter that the threat from militants might have been provoked by the slogan “A vote for FN is a vote for IS,” which was coined by the President of the Regional Council of Burgundy during regional elections at the end of last year. The mantra was picked up by socialist MPs, who suggested that FN was trying to divide France –the same goal it said is being pursued by IS.
Meanwhile, the party’s vice president, Florian Philippot, tweeted that in targeting the FN, the jihadists were attacking the whole country.
In an interview to RFI on Monday Louis Aliot , another FN vice president, said that he has asked the Interior Ministry to take the “threat seriously” and “do everything to prevent the worst.”
The head of the FN party, Marine Le Pen, has been gaining popularity in the wake of the deadly terror attacks in Paris in November of 2015 through anti-immigrant rhetoric and criticism of the EU’s handling of the current refugee crisis. Despite a solid lead in the first round of regional elections last year, the FN failed to win a single region in the second round of the regional elections in December.