Islamic State Claims the Strasbourg Christmas Market Attack

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on 15 December 2018

Strasbourg Market, 11 December 2018 [image source]

The Islamic State (IS) has now claimed the 11 December shooting attack on the Christmas market in Strasbourg, north-east France.

It was notable that in the 160th edition of Al-Naba, IS’s weekly magazine, released on 13 December, while the attacker, 29-year-old Chérif Chekatt, was still on the loose, there was no claim of responsibility. Indeed, the attack was not given a very prominent place.

On page eleven (of twelve) in Al-Naba 160, the Strasbourg attack was mentioned third—after Turkey’s threats to launch a third operation in Syria against the PKK, and the PKK’s response of turning to Bashar al-Asad’s regime—in the “Events of the Week” section.

Chérif Chekatt [image source]

The Naba notification was brief and (mostly) factual, citing “French media”. The attack had killed four people, said Al-Naba (which it now has: at the time it was three). The attacker had fled, and a man-hunt involving 700 policemen was underway. The killer had shouted “Allahu Akbar”. And Strasbourg is indeed home to one of the oldest markets in France, as Al-Naba says, as well as being the seat of the European Parliament.

Chekatt was shot dead later in the day on 13 December in the Neudorf area of Strasbourg after he fired on police. Soon afterwards, IS claimed Chekatt as one of their “soldiers” via Amaq News Agency. This is in-keeping with prior IS practice. IS presented the attack as retaliation for the Coalition’s efforts to push IS out of the area around Hajin in eastern Syria, the final pocket of territory that once comprised their “caliphate”.

Sami Chekatt, 34, older brother to Cherif, is a known jihadist.

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