France ‘kills’ jihadi expats
The Wall Street Journal reported that French special forces had allegedly enlisted Iraqi troops to ensure its nationals fighting in the country did not return home.
“French forces work in close cooperation with their Iraqi and international partners,” a French foreign ministry spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal, to fight extremists, “regardless of national origin”.
Photographs, testimonies and locations from surveillance drones and radio interception intelligence had been provided to assist in the hunt, the US paper said.
Up to 30 men had been identified as senior, “high-value” targets, it added.
Hundreds of the 1,700 French nationals believed to have joined Isis since 2014 were thought to have been killed in Iraq and Syria.
France is thought to be the only western country actively hunting down its citizens in Iraq and Syria in what is considered unchartered legal territory.
“The French authorities refuse to say that they are contracting those killings to Iraqi forces, and Iraqi forces, on the other hand, say, as it was said in the [WSJ] piece, that they are not committing those extrajudicial assassinations on the spot, but we know this is a fact today,” security specialist Wassim Nasr told France 24.
“It puts the western democracies in kind of a particular situation because the death penalty is abolished. All these cases are following the course of a judicial treatment, so it will curate a real judiciary problem in the upcoming months if not now,” he added.
A total of 236 people have died in recent terror attacks in France, including the November 2015 strikes in Paris and the July 2016 truck rampage in Nice.
Around 1,200 French troops are deployed in Iraq to assist the international coalition in the fight to reclaim the city of Mosul. France is also part of the US-led bombing campaign against Isis in Syria.
In a meeting with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in Versailles, President Emmanuel Macron called for a “closer partnership” with Russia in eradicating extremists in Syria and Iraq.
The US is less coy about killing its own citizens overseas. A fatal CIA drone attack in 2011 on Sunni cleric and Al-Qaeda supporter Anwar al-Awlaki, born in New Mexico, sparked a debate about the constitutionality of Washington using air strikes without due process. According to a 2015 congressional report, about 250 Americans had left the country to fight for Isis.
The battle for Mosul. Picture credit: Flickr