Islamist forces based in northern Mali vowed Monday to avenge France’s fierce military offensive against them on French soil.
“France has attacked Islam. We will strike at the heart of France,” said a leader of the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), an offshoot of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
Asked where they would strike, Abou Dardar told AFP by phone: “Everywhere. In Bamako, in Africa and in Europe.”
Authorities in France were already on high alert over fears of a backlash on home soil by Islamist extremists.
The French offensive has blocked the advance of Islamist forces towards the capital Bamako from their bases in the north which they have controlled since last April.