Roy Gutman reports: Ten days before the New Year’s attack on an Istanbul night club for which the so-called Islamic State now claims responsibility, it posted a grisly video on social media showing its forces burning two Turkish soldiers alive — and coupled it with a warning of worse atrocities to come.
Turkey “has become the land for Jihad,” a Turkish ISIS fighter calling himself Abu Hasan declared in the immolation video. He urged the group’s sympathizers in Turkey to “burn it, blow it up and destroy it.” It may well have been a signal to proceed with the attack early Sunday, which killed at least 39 and wounded 65.
“A hero soldier of the caliphate attacked one of the most famous nightclubs, where Christians celebrated their pagan holiday” and “transformed their celebration into mourning,” the group said in a message posted on an Internet app early Monday.
The message, a rare example of ISIS taking responsibility for an attack in Turkey, went on to condemn the Turkish intervention in northern Syria, where its forces along with Syrian rebels now encircle the ISIS-held town of Al Bab. “The government of Turkey should know that the blood of Muslims, which it is targeting with its planes and its guns, will cause a fire in its home by God’s will,” it said.
The Turkish government, which has clamped down severely on news reporting on the assault, responded defiantly, vowing to continue the cross-border operation. [Continue reading…]