“I don’t think they’re gaining strength,” the President told George Stephanopolous. “What is true is that from the start, our goal has been first to contain and we have contained them. They have not gained ground in Iraq, and in Syria they’ll come in, they’ll leave, but you don’t see this systemic march by ISIL across the terrain.”
By Friday night, however, ISIS had launched a savage and deadly series of coordinated attacks throughout Paris. One day earlier, ISIS launched two suicide bombing attacks in Beirut. Just days before that, ISIS claimed to have blown a Russian civilian jetliner over Egypt. In each case, Islamic State leaders said they were attacking nations engaged in fighting against them in Syria and Iraq.
This raises the question of whether ISIS is planning to strike U.S. cities, and when. FBI officials say they currently have more than 1,000 active ISIS investigations underway in the United States.
How in the world can President Obama say ISIS has been “contained”? Clearly, he is unwilling or unable to define the threat we face as either “Radical Islam” or “Apocalyptic Islam”? Thus, he and other Western leaders continue to be blindsided by enemies they don’t understand and refuse to effectively counter and neutralize.
This was the very subject of my recent speech at the Jerusalem Leaders Summit. It also goes to the heart of my latest novel, The Third Target, and my forthcoming sequel, The First Hostage — the tremendous destruction that can and will be wrought by the forces of the Islamic State if U.S. and other world leaders remain foolishly and dangerously un-engaged or merely semi-engaged in truly defeating this wicked foe.
At this hour, at least 127 people are dead in the French capital and more than 200 wounded in the deadliest terror attacks in Europe since the March 2004 train bombings in Madrid.
On Saturday morning, a statement was released that appeared to be from Islamic State leaders. ISIS claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks and said they were “targeting the capital of prostitution and obscenity, the carrier of the banner of the Cross in Europe — Paris.”
ISIS leaders also stated:
- they had sent “eight brothers wrapped in explosive belts and armed with machine rifles [and] targeted sites that were accurately chosen in the heart of the capital of France, including the Stade de France during the match between the Crusader German and French teams, where the retard of France, Francois Hollande, was present.”
- “[L]et France and those who walk in its path know that they will remain on the top of the list of targets of the IS, and that the smell of death will never leave their noses as long as they lead the convoy of the Crusader campaign.”
- The French “are proud of fighting Islam in France and striking the Muslims in the land of the Caliphate with their planes” but this “did not help them at all in the streets of Paris and its rotten alleys.”
- “[T]his attack is the first of the storm and a warning to those who wish to learn.”
As I write this, intelligence officials have not confirmed that ISIS is truly responsible for the French attacks, or that this statement is authentically from ISIS leaders. But analysts say that mounting evidence is pointing to the Islamic State.
French President Hollande publicly stated on Saturday morning that ISIS is to blame. He said the attacks were “an act of war.” He vowed “pitiless” revenge on the Islamic State, and declared a “state of emergency” throughout France.
“To all those who have seen these awful things, I want to say we are going to lead a war which will be pitiless,” Hollande told his nation. “Because when terrorists are capable of committing such atrocities they must be certain that they are facing a determined France, a united France, a France that is together and does not let itself be moved, even if today we express infinite sorrow.”
A video reportedly released by ISIS on Saturday called for Muslims to launch more attacks against Western infidels.
“Indeed you have been ordered to fight the infidel wherever you find him — what are you waiting for?” said an ISIS terrorist in the video. “There are weapons and cars available and targets ready to be hit. Even poison is available, so poison the water and food of at least one of the enemies of Allah.”
The terror attacks in Paris came one day after a pair of suicide bombings in Beirut, for which ISIS also claimed responsibility.
“A fiery double suicide bombing terrorized a mostly Shiite residential area of southern Beirut on Thursday, ripping through a busy shopping district at rush hour,” reported the New York Times. “The Lebanese Health Ministry said at least 43 people had been killed and more than 200 wounded in the worst attack to strike the city in years. The Islamic State extremist group, which controls parts of neighboring Syria claimed responsibility for the attack. The group portrayed its motives as baldly sectarian, saying it had targeted Shiite Muslims, whom it views as apostates. It mentioned almost as an afterthought that it had targeted Hezbollah, the Shiite militant organization that backs the Syrian government in the civil war raging next door.”
Darkness is falling across the Middle East, and across Europe. So many leaders in Washington and in Europe have lost their moral compass and do not understand the threats we face.
Let us pray:
- For our leaders to wake up, truly understand the evil before us, and have the wisdom and discernment and moral courage and resolve to confront and defeat this evil before even more lives are lost.
- For those physically wounded by the terror attacks in Paris — and by the many more emotionally traumatized by all that happened on Friday the 13th in the French capital — that the Lord would comfort and heal them by His grace and mercy.
- For the families and friends of those killed in the attacks in France for comfort and healing.
- For all those traumatized by other recent attacks in Beirut, in Egypt, throughout Israel, and of course all over Syria and Iraq, also for comfort and healing.
- For open hearts among those who do not yet know the Lord Jesus Christ that they would read the New Testament, discover the good news of the Gospel, and choose to be born again according to John chapter three.
- For the Church throughout France and the Middle East to be light in the darkness — for the believers to grow spiritually stronger in the Lord in these difficult times, to be more loving and compassionate towards the poor and the suffering, and to be more bold and fearless in preaching the Gospel and teaching the Scriptures and making disciples.
As the Apostle Paul admonishes us, “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16)
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