If we’re not “at war” with ISIS at this point, there is apparently no longer an acceptable definition of war. The French authorities have been busy all weekend, with nearly a dozen additional people in jail and scores under house arrest as the investigation proceeds. Meanwhile, the bodies of the attackers originally recovered are being identified and offering more clues of how the Islamist killers managed to put together something of this scale and pull it off. Among the dead attackers, we now know the identity of two more of the suicide bombers. The first was home grown. (LA Times)
Prosecutors said Monday that one suicide bomber who blew himself up in the Bataclan music hall Friday night was Samy Amimour, a 28-year-old Frenchman charged in a terrorism investigation in 2012. He had been placed under judicial supervision but dropped off the radar and was the subject of an international arrest warrant.
So Amimour was a native, but had been in league with the terrorists from an early age. How he “dropped off the radar” of French authorities is doubtless something they’re looking at closely this week. The second bomber, however, was an import.
A suicide bomber who blew himself up outside the national soccer stadium was found with a Syrian passport with the name Ahmad Al Mohammad, a 25-year-old born in Idlib. The prosecutor’s office says fingerprints from the attacker match those of someone who passed through Greece in October.
So Ahmad Al Mohammad was from Idlib. His home town is in northwestern Syria, south of Aleppo. How he arrived to join in on the attacks doesn’t appear to be much of a mystery. Whether his passport was legitimate or not shouldn’t be a topic of discussion since they’ve identified him as having come in with the wave of “migrants” and passing through Greece.
The fact that we’re seeing both French and foreign terrorists would seem to confirm some of our worst fears. ISIS has been reaching out and “radicalizing” the willing for some time now, both in the United States and abroad. They clearly had willing partners in France and Belgium who were waiting to assist and equip the foreign fighters when they arrived. If we want to pretend that this formula couldn’t be repeated here in America then we may as well throw in the towel right now.
The newly identified suicide bombers weren’t the only ones tied to ISIS. Some of the other fighters had similar pedigrees. (CNN)
Bilal Hafdi, a Belgian resident who is thought to have fought in Syria, was one of the attackers, according to several sources. Hafdi, who was killed in the attacks, was 19 or 20, the sources said.
One of the suicide bombers has been identified as Ismael Omar Mostefai, according to Jean-Pierre Gorges, the mayor of the French town of Chartres, who is also a member of Parliament. Mostefai lived in Chartres at least until 2012, Gorges said in a Facebook post Saturday.
French citizens don’t have the same rights as Americans when it comes to being detained, so the family members of all of these people are being held and interrogated by Paris law enforcement officials. More are under arrest in Belgium, where the government now admits that certain areas are out of their control. (You remember the fictional no-go zones from last winter, right? The ones which were “fever dreams” of paranoid conservatives?)
Even if this wave of attacks is over, the trove of information coming out of the event is both useful and alarming. The level of organization and collusion between ISIS fighters from Iraq and Syria and their converts in western nations could be repeated virtually anywhere. Democrats will be screaming at Bobby Jindal for demanding to know where the Syrian refugees were put in his state, but Louisiana may wind up being one of the only sane spots in the country. The Obama administration has approved the resettlement of our new Syrian “guests” for the last two years and the FBI has come right out and stated that “vetting the refugees coming into the United States is nearly non-existent.”
The only remaining question in my mind is if we plan to learn anything from the horror show in Paris and move proactively or if we’re going to twiddle our thumbs until the people of Paris are singing the Star Spangled Banner in support of us after a football stadium crowd is blown up. And if that happens, we will be partly to blame for not cracking down on this while we had the chance. You can’t say we weren’t warned.