China’s vast fire power and more than 2 million active-duty personnel now have their sights set on the Islamic State, as Beijing officially declares war on the terror group.
“China will strengthen cooperation with the international community, resolutely crack down on violent terrorist operations that devastate innocent lives, and safeguard world peace and security,” said President Xi Jinping.
China also directed its agencies to boost security “outside China’s borders.”
Xi’s declaration comes after jihadist groups killed at least four Chinese nationals in recent attacks.
On Wednesday, ISIS claimed it had executed Fan Jinghui, as well as Norwegian national Ole Johan Grimsgaard-Ofstad. Both may have been taken hostage in September. Images published in the group’s in-house magazine reportedly show the two being executed.
Earlier, its propaganda publication Dabiq showed full-page photos of the hostages with captions that read “For Sale.”
During Friday’s attack on the Radisson Blu hotel in Mali’s capital of Bamako, militants held hostage and killed at least 21 people including three executives from the Chinese Railway Construction Corp.
Zhou Tianxiang and Wang Xuanshang, general manager and deputy general manager of the company’s international division; and Chang Xuehui, general manager of its West Africa division, were killed, according to a company statement.
“China Railway Construction Corp. is deeply saddened by the deaths of the three employees, and we express our deep condolences to the victims’ families and strongly condemn the atrocities committed by the terrorists,” the statement read.
Mali commandos eventually stormed the hotel saving 170 hostages including four other Chinese nationals, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
Al Mourabitoun and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claimed responsibility for the attack, which Xi condemned as “cruel and savage.”
Among the fallen were a worker for the Belgian regional parliament and United States aid worker Anita Ashok Datar. Moscow said Russians also were among the victims.
Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg called the murder of Ole “painful for the whole country.”