Al-Qaeda freed a French jihadist

The jihadist is the subject of an arrest warrant from the French courts. Oumar Diaby, alias Omar Omsen, suspected of having convinced many French people to join Syria, was released by the group linked to Al-Qaeda which had held him for a year and a half, according to information obtained on Wednesday from concordant sources.

The French jihadist had been in the hands of the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) group since August 2020. “I had his son, he was released,” confirmed Jean-Charles Brisard, director of the Center for Terrorism Analysis (CAT) in Paris, to AFP. “HTS had to put conditions on his release but do not wish to make them known,” he added.

From a snack to Syria

The private American company Site, which specializes in monitoring jihadist sites, indicates that this release was announced by the militant media On the Ground News (OGN), which works in Syria in jihadist areas.

A former Franco-Senegalese delinquent who became a preacher, notably via the internet, Diaby worked in 2012 in a hallal snack bar in Nice (south-eastern France) before joining Syria in 2013 where he took the head of a jihadist brigade made up of young people. French, mostly from the Nice region like him.

The shadow of the Charlie Hebdo attack

He is currently in the Idleb region, one of the last pockets outside Damascus’ control. Author of propaganda videos, he was self-proclaimed imam. In September 2016, the United States called him an “international terrorist”. Given for dead, he reappeared in a shoot broadcast by France 2 in 2016.

If he is not directly suspected of having organized attacks, Omar Omsen had approved the attack against the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in January 2015 in Paris. “Those who insulted the prophet were executed. We had to do what the Kouachi brothers did. I would have liked to be chosen to do this, ”he told France 2.

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