French President Francois Hollande says France is taking seriously a threat from al-Qaida's North African wing after the Islamist group called for attacks on French interests abroad.
In a video posted online, a purported leader of the terrorist group, Abu Obeida Yusef al-Annabi, called on "Muslims around the world" to attack French interests everywhere, saying they are "legitimate targets."
Hollande told reporters Tuesday that they are taking the threat from al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb [AQIM] very seriously. He said that French-led forces have inflicted considerable losses on Islamist groups in Mali, but that AQIM cells exist outside that country and continue to pose a threat.
French troops entered Mali in January to push back militants moving toward the capital and to reclaim territory occupied by al-Qaida-linked militant groups.
France has since begun a gradual drawdown to bring their 4,000 troops in Mali down to just 1,000 by the end of the year.