Al-Qaeda group issues threat against Geert Wilders: report

Terrorist movement al-Qaeda recently threatened various persons and organizations, including Dutch far-right politician Geert Wilders, NOS reports based on a statement in the hands of French newspaper Le Monde. The statement was written by the Al-Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), and mentions Wilders by name, according to the broadcaster.

The statement from AQAP, a Yemeni and Saudi branch of the militant group, consists of five pages in Arabic. "There is an appeal to carry out attacks on Charlie Hebdo, on the Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders and on Danish and Swedish cartoonists," Le Monde reported. AQAP made a single specific reference to "the Dutch criminal named Geert Wilders", a Le Monde journalist confirmed. The PVV leader is not further mentioned.

"Terrible news," Wilders said in a response. "I was already on their hit list, already have two fatwas from Pakistan and now another call for murder from al-Qaeda. Disgusting. This has cost me my freedom for 16 years, something that I would not wish on my worst enemy."

AQAP was also linked to an attack on Charlie Hebdo in 2015, shortly after the weekly published cartoons featuring the prophet Mohammed. Eleven people were killed in that attack. 

These days experts disagree on how much power and influence AQAP has. The movement is significantly weaker than in 2015, but the threat is not gone, according to NOS.

French intelligence services consider it unlikely that AQAP can commit a well-organized attack from abroad at this stage. But they are concerned that calls like these may "inspire" people to carry out an attack in western countries, according to the broadcaster.