Iraqi officials warned France that an attack from ISIS was headed their way one day before the Paris attacks took place, an AP News article, via Mashable, reports.
Terrorist attacks in Paris killed over 120 people on Friday, leaving hundreds wounded and a city on edge.
According to the Associated Press, senior intelligence officers in Iraq warned all coalition countries that they were under threat via a dispatch which stated that ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, had ordered an attack on a list of countries fighting against them in Iraq and Syria. The dispatch states that these attacks on coalition forces would take the form of “bombings or assassinations or hostage taking in the coming days.”
A top French security official told the Associated Press that they get this type of dispatch all the time. It did not detail the date and time that the attacks would occur but it was confirmed by six Iraqi intelligence officers. According to AP, four of the Iraqi officials who corroborated the imminent threat of ISIS attacks said they would specifically target France. The AP says that two of these officials warned France of details that have not been released to the public as yet.
According to the dispatch from Iraq, the Paris attacks were planned in Raqqa, Syria, the center of ISIS operations in the Middle East. One-third of Iraq and Syria are currently part of an ISIS caliphate established by the terrorist group in 2014. The attackers were trained for the mission in Raqqa and were sent to France where they met with a sleeper cell in Paris. The job of the sleeper cell was to facilitate the execution of the plan hatched in Syria.
In total, there were 24 people involved in the Paris attacks: 19 attackers and five people who were in charge of logistics. Seven of the attackers were suicide bombers. ISIS claimed responsibility for the Paris terrorist attack on Saturday, confirming what many had been speculating since the first bombs went off in Paris on Friday.
The Paris attacks wounded 350 people, 99 of them seriously.
Iraq’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, also told press in Vienna on Sunday that Iraqi intelligence had shared information with the coalition that certain countries were under immediate threat from attacks by ISIS including France, the United States, and Iran.
The retaliation for the Paris tragedy has already begun. Sky News reports that France has dropped 20 bombs on Raqqa which targeted ISIS strongholds. According to Sky News, The French Defence Ministry has stated that bombs were dropped on an ISIS training camp and an arms stockpile in Raqqa. A rep for the defence ministry has also stated that it’s the largest aerial attack France has launched on Syria in history.
According to Sky News, these are not carpet bombing raids, but planned precision strikes designed to take out their intended targets.
The Paris attacks hit unsuspecting French citizens on Friday night through a series of shootings and suicide bombings. The attacks targeted one of Paris’ most densely populated districts, according to Vox. The shootings happened at crowded restaurants and at a packed concert at The Bataclan Theatre. The terrorists took 100 people hostage at The Bataclan before French police stormed the building.
The attackers also targeted the Stade de France, a soccer stadium outside of Paris where a friendly between France and Germany was taking place Most reports claim that the attacks killed at least 129 people with some estimating that the number is actually 132.
French President Francois Hollande declared a state of emergency and instituted border controls.
French national Ismaël Omar Mostefaï, 29, has been identified as one of the attackers. He had been classified as a radical by French authorities, and had a criminal record.
[Photo by Christopher Furlong/ Getty Images]