PARIS (AP) — France's interior minister asked judicial police on Wednesday to look into tweets by far-right leader Marine Le Pen of gruesome photos of executions by the Islamic State group — her response to a broadcast journalist broadly comparing her party to the organization.
Le Pen tweeted the photos after Jean-Jacques Bourdin, known for his brash style, said on BFM TV that her National Front party and IS both focus on identity, so share a "community of spirit."
"Daesh is THIS!" Le Pen said in angry tweets showing executions, using the Arabic acronym for the group. But her effort to make a distinction between her anti-immigration party and the Islamic State group appears to have backfired.
The incident comes three days after Le Pen's National Front suffered a stinging defeat in critical regional elections on Sunday, failing to take any regions, a personal humiliation for Le Pen who ran in the north. However, she came out victorious in a legal battle Tuesday when a Lyon court acquitted her of inciting hatred for denouncing prayers in the streets by Muslims.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, asked about the tweets in parliament, told lawmakers he has taken the case to a section of the judicial police that deals with illicit content on the Internet so it can look into the matter "as it does each time these photos are diffused."
"They are propaganda photos of Daesh," Cazeneuve said. He called them "abject, an abomination and a veritable insult to all victims of terrorism."
Bourdin occasionally stirs national controversy on his morning show on RMC radio and BFM TV.
On Wednesday, discussing extremism with a noted Middle East expert, he referred to "links ... not direct links between the National Front and Daesh, but this isolation in identity that in the end is a community of spirit."
In response, Le Pen fired off the tweets.