© Francois Lenoir / Reuters
The Islamic State’s infamous French speaker, Rachid Kassim, was found distributing details, including pictures, of several Belgian soldiers to hundreds of his contacts in what authorities believed to be an incitement to terrorism.
According to the Belgian La Dernière Heure and Het Laatste Nieuws newspapers, Kassim sent the information to his network of around 300 people through the encrypted messaging service Telegram.
The message, entitled “orders to brothers of Belgium,” also included soldiers’ details taken from their social networks.
The authorities requested that the media refrain for 24 hours from publishing the sensitive information. A Belgian Ministry of Defense spokesperson confirmed that a “very serious” inquiry was now taking place and “being closely monitored by army intelligence services.”
“We must put these threats in the overall context,” said Belgium’s Chief of Defense General Marc Compernol. “This is something we are following with our intelligence and security services.”
“In the current environment we must be vigilant regarding the published content.”
The soldiers whose information was shared have been alerted and extra precautionary measures have been put in place.
Kassim, a 29-year-old French citizen from Lyon, has reportedly become the most dangerous propaganda agent for the Islamic State in the French-speaking world. Authorities suspect he orchestrated the recent terrorist attacks on French soil online, from an unknown location somewhere on the Iraq-Syria border.
Why is it that internet capabilities haven't been shut down in northern Iraq and Syria? Surely it can't be that hard.
French intelligence services were credited with intercepting Kassim’s messages on Telegram since the murder of a Catholic priest in the sleepy French town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray in July. His contacts are often vulnerable minors, many of whom have since been arrested in France.