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July 11, 2014 0

ISIS Weighs In On Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

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Al-Battar Media tweet threat­ens: “Patience, Jews, our appoint­ment is at al-Quds [Jerusalem] tomor­row, for the one who waits is close.”

As the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS, an Al Qaeda inspired ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion seek­ing to cre­ate an Islamic empire) gains con­fi­dence, ter­ri­tory and expands its exten­sive online pres­ence, the ter­ror­ist group (and its sup­port­ers) are increas­ingly mak­ing threats against Israel in response to the ongo­ing conflict.

One of ISIS’ sev­eral media wings, Al-Battar Media, tweeted a series of graph­ics threat­en­ing Israel. One graphic posted July 9 shows storm clouds over Jerusalem with a warn­ing: “Patience, Jews, our appoint­ment is at al-Quds [Jerusalem] tomor­row, for the one who waits is close.” Another image posted the same day shows the Dome of the Rock mosque super­im­posed in front of mil­i­tants and fea­tures the same language. 

ISIS’ Dawla Media Twit­ter feed, which reg­u­larly posts ISIS pro­pa­ganda mate­ri­als, tweeted a quoteon July 8 pur­port­edly from a Hamas spokesman say­ing, “All our mil­i­tary oper­a­tions till now are just [a] mes­sage for Israel.”

Dawla Media has also tweeted a state­menton July 9 indi­cat­ing that ISIS must fight the sur­round­ing Arab states before it can attack Israel “because they are the pro­tec­tive fence sup­port­ing the Jews.”

Other state­ments have been tweeted from a feed asso­ci­ated with the pro-ISIS extrem­ist forum “Al-Platform Media,” which has been tweet­ing state­ments by forum users. For exam­ple, one tweet from July linked to a con­ver­sa­tion on the forum pro­claim­ing, “Allah’s curse upon those of you who have made filth on the holy places. Zion­ist dogs…I would cru­cify you.”

ISIS’s online sup­port­ers are also tweet­ing their own threats. One sup­porter wrote that the kid­nap­pings and deaths of the three Israeli teenagers Naf­tali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach would be the first of many such attacks. And at least one sup­porter posted the anti-Semitic “Khay­bar” slo­gan evok­ing the story of slay­ing thou­sands of Jews from the tribe of Khaiber in Ara­bia 1400 years ago. The slo­gan has been retweeted and favor­ited by many ISIS supporters.

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ISIS map that reads, “We fight in Lev­an­tine and our eyes are ded­i­cated towards beit al Maqdis [Jerusalem]”

ISIS pro­pa­ganda tar­get­ing Israel is not with­out prece­dent. Even before the cur­rent con­flict, maps dis­trib­uted online by ISIS demon­strat­ing its ter­ri­to­r­ial ambi­tions reg­u­larly included Israel as part of the Islamic State. A map released by ISIS in March claimed that the orga­ni­za­tion held ter­ri­tory 220km away from Israel and threat­ened rocket attacks, say­ing, “We fight in the Lev­an­tine and our eyes are toward Jerusalem.”

A video released by ISIS last month before the cur­rent con­flict included threats against Jews and Chris­tians to rally its mil­i­tants. The video includes explicit anti-Jewish state­ments, includ­ing “Wher­ever our war goes, Jew­ish rab­bis are humiliated.”

ISIS has a long his­tory of threat­en­ing Israel. As early as 2005, the organization’s pre­de­ces­sor, Al Qaeda in Iraq, claimed at least 2 rocket attacks against Israel. In 2008, the organization’s leader Abu Omar al-Baghdadi issued an audio state­ment call­ing for attacks on Israel and propos­ing to use Iraq as a “launch­ing pad” for mis­sile attacks against Israel.

ISIS has become well known for its sophis­ti­cated use of social media, where it dis­sem­i­nates pro­pa­ganda, threat­ens west­ern nations and enables sup­port­ers to take part in that process.

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October 18, 2013 0

Long Island Arrest Highlights Continuing Lure Of Terror Groups Abroad

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Mar­cos Alonso Zea arrested for attempt­ing to join Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Peninsula.

A Long Island man was arrested Fri­day for attempt­ing to join Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula (AQAP). The arrest came exactly one week after an Orange County man was arrested for attempt­ing to travel abroad to join Al Qaeda in Pakistan.

Both arrests high­light the con­tin­ued trend of Amer­i­can cit­i­zens join­ing ter­ror­ist groups abroad and the con­tin­ued allure of Al Qaeda and its affil­i­ates. At least three Amer­i­can cit­i­zens or per­ma­nent res­i­dents have attempted to join AQAP in 2013 alone. And at least nine oth­ers have attempted to join for­eign ter­ror­ist groups this year.

Mar­cos Alonso Zea, also known as Ali Zea, is charged with con­spir­acy to com­mit mur­der in a for­eign coun­try, attempt­ing to pro­vide mate­r­ial sup­port to ter­ror­ists, attempt­ing to pro­vide mate­r­ial sup­port to AQAP, and obstruc­tion and attempted obstruc­tion of justice.

Zea, a 25-year-old Mus­lim con­vert from Brent­wood, Long Island, allegedly flew from New York to Lon­don with plans to con­tinue from there to the Ara­bian Penin­sula on Jan­u­ary 4, 2012. He was detained by cus­toms offi­cials and returned to the United States.

His own plans stymied, Zea allegedly encour­aged a co-conspirator from his mosque, 18-year-old high school senior Justin Kaliebe, to make the trip. Zea dis­cussed plans to fight abroad and pro­vided him with money to fund the trip, accord­ing to the indict­ment. Kaliebe was arrested at JFK Inter­na­tional Air­port on Jan­u­ary 21, 2013, and is sched­uled to be sen­tenced Decem­ber 6, 2013.

Zea’s com­puter report­edly con­tained a num­ber of mate­ri­als designed to encour­age rad­i­cal­iza­tion, includ­ing copies of Inspire Mag­a­zine, AQAP’s English-language peri­od­i­cal, and a video from Al Qaeda in Iraq depict­ing an attack on a mil­i­tary vehicle.

Since 2007, over 50 Amer­i­can cit­i­zens and per­ma­nent res­i­dents have been arrested or charged in con­nec­tion with attempts to join ter­ror­ist groups abroad, includ­ing Al Shabaab and Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula.

In addi­tion to Zea, eight oth­ers have attempted to join for­eign ter­ror­ist groups this year. They are:

  • Sinh Vinh Ngo Nguyen of Cal­i­for­nia, arrested on Octo­ber 11, 2013 for attempt­ing to join Al Qaeda.
  • Amir Farouq Ibrahim, of Penn­syl­va­nia, linked with ISIS and assumed dead in Syria in July 2013.
  • Justin Kaliebe of New York, arrested June 25, 2013 for attempt­ing to join AQAP.
  • Nicole Mans­field of Michi­gan, killed in Syria in May, 2013, report­edly fight­ing with Jab­hat al Nus­rah.
  • Abdella Ahmad Tounisi of Illinios, arrested April 19, 2013 for attempt­ing to join Jab­hat al Nusrah.
  • Eric Har­roun of Ari­zona, arrested March 27, 2013, for trav­el­ing to Syria to fight with Al Qaeda linked rebels. He pleaded guilty to non-terror-related charges in Sep­tem­ber, 2013, and was sen­tenced to time served. That Har­roun fought in Syria is uncon­tested; how­ever, reports dif­fer as to whether he fought with Al Qaeda affil­i­ates.
  • Matthew Aaron Llaneza of Cal­i­for­nia, arrested Feb­ru­ary 8, 2013, for attempted domes­tic ter­ror­ism and plans to travel to join the Tal­iban in Afghanistan.
  • Shel­ton Thomas Bell of Florida, arrested Jan­u­ary 29, 2013 for attempt­ing to join AQAP.

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July 31, 2013 0

Pittsburgh Man Drawn To Syrian Front Underscores Emerging Trend

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Amiir Farouk Ibrahim’s passport

An Egyptian-American man born in Pitts­burgh is report­edly the lat­est Amer­i­can to join the con­flict in Syria on the side of rebels fight­ing against the Assad regime.

Amiir Farouk Ibrahim may also be the lat­est Amer­i­can casualty.

Ibrahim’s Amer­i­can and Egypt­ian pass­ports were dis­cov­ered ear­lier this month after Kur­dish fight­ers over­ran a com­pound once held by the Islamic State of Iraq, an umbrella orga­ni­za­tion com­posed of sev­eral Sunni insur­gency groups affil­i­ated with Al Qaeda.

If dead, Ibrahim would be the sec­ond Amer­i­can known to have been killed in Syria’s civil war. Nicole Mans­field, a con­vert to Islam from Michi­gan, was killed in Syria in May 2013.

Ibrahim’s fam­ily report­edly indi­cated that he trav­eled to Turkey before cross­ing into Syria ear­lier this year. He received a bachelor’s degree in busi­ness admin­is­tra­tion from Florida Inter­na­tional Uni­ver­sity in 2008.

Ibrahim’s Face­book page con­tained numer­ous posts sug­gest­ing that he sub­scribed to a rad­i­cal inter­pre­ta­tion of Islam con­sis­tent with Al Qaeda’s ide­ol­ogy. For example:

  • Feb­ru­ary 1: Ibrahim posted an image call­ing for a boy­cott of French prod­ucts because of the French mil­i­tary cam­paign against Al Qaeda in Mali.
  • Jan­u­ary 30: Ibrahim posted sev­eral pho­tos of a house on an island with the cap­tion, “So you can imag­ine how par­adise would look like.” He posted a com­ment on one of the pho­tos ask­ing God to make him “one of the peo­ple of Paradise.”
  • Jan­u­ary 30: Ibrahim posted a photo for Mohammed Bouy­eri, the Dutch–Moroccan con­victed of killing Dutch film­maker Theo Van Gogh. The com­ment on the post reads in part, “The lion Mohammed Bouy­eri (May God release him from his prison) did an oper­a­tion that will be recorded with gold in the his­tory of Islam.”
  • Decem­ber 2, 2012:  Ibrahim posted a YouTube video that fea­tures the pop­u­lar jihadi song “Madin Kas-Sayf” [Sharp like the Sword].
  • Octo­ber 18, 2012: Ibrahim posted a com­ment call­ing upon Mus­lims to embrace Jihad and sup­port the Sunni Mus­lims in Syria against the Shia’a.

As ADL reported in June, there have been three other pub­licly dis­closed cases of Amer­i­cans involved in fight­ing with rebels. Each has been linked to Jab­hat al-Nusrah (JN), a State Department-designated alias for Al Qaeda in Iraq. It is unknown how many Amer­i­cans have entered the con­flict on the side of rebel fac­tions unaf­fil­i­ated with Al Qaeda.

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