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Al-Qaeda threatens Macron, urges killing of those who insult prophet

TUNIS, Tunisia - Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb urged its followers Monday to kill anyone insulting the Prophet Mohammed and threatened French President Emmanuel Macron over his remarks on Islam.

Last month Macron defended the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed on the grounds of freedom of speech, launching a campaign against Islamic radicalism and sparking fury across the Muslim world.

"Killing anyone who insults the prophet is the right of each and every Muslim," the jihadist group, knowns by its French acronym AQMI, said in a statement.

Macron's remarks came after beheading of French teacher Samuel Paty near Paris by a suspected jihadist, after Paty had shown his students cartoons of the prophet Mohammed during a lesson on freedom of expression.

That followed the re-publication of the controversial cartoons in September by satirical French weekly Charlie Hebdo.

Macron has vowed to defend freedom of speech, but anger has spread among Muslims worldwide, with many vowing to boycott French products.

"The boycott is a duty but it is not enough," AQMI said in the statement.

It threatened to avenge Macron's comments, describing the French president as "young and unexperienced, with a little brain" and saying he had "insisted on offending the Prophet". -- Agence France-Presse