Fears over Irish newspaper, Sentinel newspaper

Fears have risen in Ireland that a French newspaper will be targeted by Islamic State extremists who are also targeting French newspaper Le Monde and other French-language publications in Iraq.

France’s National Commission for Fundamental Rights (CNFRI) has raised concerns that a publication in Paris could be targeted as part of a broader campaign by the terrorist group to kill French journalists, especially journalists from the Paris bureau of Le Mond.

French media have been targeted before, most recently in November 2015, when a gunman killed a French reporter at the Louvre museum.

A French-Iraqi journalist was killed by Islamic militants in Iraq in October 2016, and a British journalist was shot dead in Baghdad.

The threat has increased after a jihadist cell launched an attack in the French city of Nice in July on the Bastille Day parade, where a crowd of thousands of people gathered to celebrate the fall of the Bastards in the Battle of the Bulge.

The French interior ministry said it was aware of the threats against Le Mondo and the Sentinel newspaper, both of which are published in Paris, and it had issued a directive to its offices, citing the importance of protecting French publications and staff.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS or ISIL-K) claimed responsibility for the attack on the Paris newspaper.

“We have already taken steps to secure the safety of our French journalists,” the interior ministry added.

“This directive is a signal to all the French journalists who work for our media to act according to the same rules as we have for our own journalists, and do not leave their offices without a security check.”

France is facing an influx of foreign fighters who have returned to the country from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, mainly after a three-year ceasefire collapsed between the two countries in 2014.

It is also home to an estimated 200,000 foreign jihadists, most of whom are from the former Yugoslavia, the Middle East and North Africa.

The IS group has been accused of using social media and other online channels to recruit young men, and is holding the country hostage to justify its campaign.

The jihadist group has claimed responsibility earlier this year for an attack on a gay nightclub in Paris in which the attackers killed at least 84 people.

French authorities have also been criticised for failing to provide adequate security for journalists in the wake of the Paris attack.

In September 2016, two journalists were arrested on suspicion of helping to smuggle out a stolen French passport.

The authorities also faced criticism for failing in its duty to protect journalists.