PARIS : President Francois Hollande said Tuesday thatFrancewas taking seriously a call by Al-Qaeda’s north African wing for Muslims worldwide to launch attacks against the country’s interests over its military operation inMali.

An AQIM leader called on Muslims to “attack French interests everywhere” in a video message posted online.

“We are taking seriously the threat by AQIM (Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb),” Hollande told reporters.

He said that despite considerable losses inflicted on Islamist groups by French-led forces since they first went into Mali in January, AQIM cells still exist outside the country and “the terrorist threat has not disappeared”.

“So we believe we must continue the operation in Mali for as long as it takes — even if we reduce our presence — and stay vigilant around Mali to continue the fight against terror.” Hollande said he had ordered measures to protect French installations abroad.

The AQIM threat comes after a car bombing at France’s embassy in the Libyan capital Tripoli last month, which wounded three people. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.