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August 19, 2014

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

Hackers Strike Pennsylvania Synagogue Website Over Gaza

Update – October 8: The Moroc­can Islamic Union-Mail claimed credit for hack­ing into the Mass­a­chu­setts Mar­itime Academy’s web­site in defense of  the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

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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May 13, 2014

Al Shabaab English Video Includes Calls For “Lone Wolf” Attacks

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Image from the conclusion of Al-Shabaab’s new video

A new English-language video issued by Al Shabaab, the Somali Al Qaeda affiliate, calls on Muslims living abroad to either undertake “a lone wolf mission” in their home countries or to travel abroad to join foreign terrorist organizations.

Al Shabaab has long been active in recruiting Westerners, and particularly Americans, to its cause. Between 2007 and 2012, over 60 U.S. citizens and permanent residents attempted to aid or join the terrorist organization.

The video comes in the midst of an upsurge in sophisticated English-language propaganda disseminated by terrorist organizations over the internet that is aimed at encouraging Americans and other Westerners to undertake violent actions.

Other Al Qaeda groups, such as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, have long advised their ideological adherents to undertake lone wolf attacks and domestic radicalization rather than travel abroad.

However, Al Shabaab had previously been more focused on strengthening its organization in Somalia. By presenting Muslims abroad with a choice between material support and lone wolf action rather than only calling on them to travel to Somalia, though, this video may mark a shift in Al Shabaab’s strategy.

The video is the fifth in a series called “Mujahideen Moments” but is the first to be presented exclusively in English.

In addition to its call for violent activity, it also references Al Shabaab’s 2013 attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, as a positive example for those contemplating terrorism abroad.

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