- - Friday, June 26, 2015

An attack on gas factory in France today was the latest atrocity by the Global Jihad Movement and may have deliberately targeted an American company.

Two men carrying flags of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) stormed an Air Products factory in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier located near Lyon in southern France at 10 AM local time today. The men brought with them a severed head with Arabic writing on it. They hung this head from the fence of the facility.

The attackers threw gas cylinders into the main yard of the facility and may have slammed their car into gas canisters to trigger a large explosion to destroy the plant. Some of the gas cylinders exploded.

One of the attackers was killed in a firefight, and one was arrested. There reportedly are other accomplices. Ten people were injured in the attack.

French officials said one of the two men was “known to security services” and told police he was a member of ISIS.

The gas factory may have been attacked because it is owned by an U.S.-based company. The attackers also may targeted this factory to trigger a huge explosion.

The French government issued a terrorist alert about two weeks ago, possibly because there were warnings that a major ISIS attack was imminent.

French officials immediately said the attack as an act of terrorism.

French officials responded to the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January by stating France is at war with radical Islam. U.S. officials refuse to make such a statement. Moreover, unlike the United States, which recently weakened a counterterrorism intelligence program (the NSA metadata program), France is stepping up intelligence efforts to stop jihadist terrorist attacks at home. The problem is that there are so many potential jihadist attackers in France that French authorities cannot monitor all of them 24-7.

The Obama administration needs to immediately recognize this incident as a terrorist attack staged by the Global Jihad Movement and not call it another act of “violent extremism.” These attackers were at least inspired by ISIS and its jihadist ideology if not directed by them. Whether they were directed by ISIS or inspired by them is a distinction without a difference since ISIS’s goal is to encourage terrorist attacks against the West regardless of whether the attackers have a formal association with the group.

Obama officials also need to view this as part of a growing trend of jihadist terrorist attacks that generate publicity which lead to additional attacks. In light of this terrorist attack, the Obama administration must step up efforts to protect U.S. citizens and businesses worldwide from future terrorist attacks by jihadists.

Fred Fleitz is a senior vice president for policy and programs with the Center for Security Policy.

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