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August 20, 2014 0

Americans Respond To ISIS Recruitment

Even as it fights on a num­ber of fronts in the Mid­dle East, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), an al Qaeda-inspired ter­ror­ist group that claims sov­er­eignty in sec­tions of Syria and Iraq, con­tin­ues to recruit west­ern­ers through its sophis­ti­cated online pro­pa­ganda cam­paign.al-hayat-ad-propaganda

Some Amer­i­cans are heed­ing the call.

In 2014, four of the five Amer­i­cans arrested in the U.S. for attempt­ing to join the con­flict in Syria and Iraq were accused of attempt­ing to join ISIS: Don­ald Ray Mor­gan of North Car­olina in August (arrested on weapons charges but believed to have been attempt­ing to join ISIS); Shan­non Mau­reen Con­ley of Col­orado in July; Michael Todd Wolfe of Texas in June; and Nicholas Teau­sant of Cal­i­for­nia in March. The fifth, Mohammed Has­san Ham­dan of Michi­gan, allegedly attempted to fight in Syria with Hezbol­lah.

Fur­ther­more, In June the FBI said it launched an inves­ti­ga­tion into 15 Somali Amer­i­cans from Min­nesota believed to have joined ISIS.

At least two other Amer­i­cans have appeared in videos released by ISIS and Jab­hat al-Nusra, the Al Qaeda affil­i­ate in Syria.A video released in August 2014 fea­tured an alleged Amer­i­can national called Abu Abdu­rah­man al-Trinidadi encour­ag­ing oth­ers to join ISIS. And in May, Moner Abu Salha of Florida was iden­ti­fied in a Jab­hat al-Nusra video as hav­ing par­tic­i­pa­tion in a sui­cide attack.

U.S. intel­li­gence offi­cials esti­mate that over 100 Amer­i­can nation­als have trav­elled to join the con­flict in Syria, a con­flict that has since spread to Iraq.

The effect of ISIS’ increased strength and noto­ri­ety, as well as its advanced online recruit­ment strate­gies, appear to be hav­ing an effect. Of the seven known Amer­i­cans who either trav­eled to or attempted to travel to Syria to fight with mil­i­tants last year, only one was believed to have fought with ISIS; a video released online in Novem­ber 2013 fea­tured an appar­ent Amer­i­can called Abu Dujana al-Amriki, prais­ing ISIS.

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August 19, 2014 0

New AQAP Magazine Calls For Lone-Wolf Attacks Against U.S. And U.K.

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Back cover of the AQAP pub­li­ca­tion, “Pales­tine: Betrayal of the Guilty Conscience”

Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula (AQAP) issued a new English-language mag­a­zine on Twit­ter August 16. Titled “Pales­tine: Betrayal of the Guilty Con­science,” the pub­li­ca­tion uses the recent con­flict in Gaza as an excuse to renew the group’s call for lone-wolf attacks in the U.S. and the U.K.

AQAP has reg­u­larly issued such calls for lone-wolf attacks in the past, includ­ing just a few days ago when it urged fol­low­ers to attack the U.S. in retal­i­a­tion for mil­i­tary assis­tance in Iraq.

The mag­a­zine, which reuses con­tent from AQAP’s Inspire mag­a­zine, includes direc­tions for build­ing pres­sure cooker bombs and car bombs and sug­gests a new list of poten­tial tar­gets includ­ing Israeli, British and Amer­i­can owned com­pa­nies, tourist resorts fre­quented by Amer­i­can, British and Israeli cit­i­zens, Las Vegas casi­nos and night clubs, Geor­gia Mil­i­tary Col­lege, the US Air Force Acad­emy, Gen­eral Atom­ics head­quar­ters in San Diego, and Marks and Spencer stores in Britain.

For more infor­ma­tion about this pub­li­ca­tion, see the ADL analy­sis “AQAP Exploits Gaza Con­flict to Call for Lone-Wolf Attacks Against U.S.”

ADL has also writ­ten exten­sively about the  influ­ence posed by such online English-language pro­pa­ganda on would-be domes­tic extrem­ists and the ensu­ing threat it poses to domes­tic security.

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July 18, 2014 0

Hackers Strike Pennsylvania Synagogue Website Over Gaza

Update — July 21: A sim­i­lar hack by the Moroc­can Islamic Union-mail tar­geted a con­gre­ga­tion in Hous­ton over the weekend.

Polit­i­cally moti­vated hack­ers from the Arab world have once again tar­geted Jew­ish web­sites in the United States. The Moroc­can Islamic Union-mail hacker group claimed respon­si­bil­ity today for van­dal­iz­ing the web­site of Con­gre­ga­tion Beth Am Israel in Penn Val­ley, Pennsylvania.moroccan-islamic-union-mail-facebook

The group posted a mes­sage on the defaced syn­a­gogue web­site stat­ing, “end Israeli vio­lence in #Gaza” with an image of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, a Pales­tin­ian who was killed ear­lier this month in Jerusalem by what appears to be a group of Jew­ish extremists.

As state­ment posted on the Moroc­can Islamic Union-mail Face­book page claimed respon­si­bil­ity for the hack, describ­ing the syn­a­gogue as “A Zion­ist Assembly.”

Last week, posts threat­en­ing Israel “with major oper­a­tions” and “strong elec­tronic attacks” appeared on the group’s Face­book page after Israel began its mil­i­tary oper­a­tion to stop Hamas’s rocket attacks from Gaza.

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Moroc­can Islamic Union-mail take credit for hack on Facebook

The Moroc­can Islamic Union-mail also claimed on its Face­book page that it is affil­i­ated with the Moroc­can Ghosts, another hacker group respon­si­ble for a series of attacks on Jew­ish web­sites in the United States over the past two years.

The Moroc­can Ghosts re-emerged in recent days with a wave of new attacks on a num­ber of Israeli web­sites, includ­ing the web­site of the Help­ing Hand Coali­tion, an Israeli orga­ni­za­tion that pro­vides tes­ti­monies from Holo­caust Sur­vivors (its web­site is hosted in Illi­nois). The Moroc­can Ghosts posted a pro­pa­ganda video for the Qass­sam Brigades, the mil­i­tary wing of Hamas, in Hebrew threat­en­ing Israelis with retaliation.

ADL offers guid­ance to Jew­ish insti­tu­tions regard­ing online and dig­i­tal security.

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