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France Says It's Taking al-Qaida Threats Seriously

French President Francois Hollande waits on the front steps of the Elysee Palace in Paris prior to welcome his Polish counterpart Bronislaw Komorowski (not shown), May 7, 2013.
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.