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July 30, 2014 1

ISIS Augments Its Threats Against Israel

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A graphic posted by Al-Minhaj Media states: “The Islamic State pounds the Zion­ist entity with rock­ets and will con­tinue hit­ting their fortresses with a bloody clap that will worry them. We will raise the dis­grace with our hands and with all our strength we will push them back.”

Since the start of the cur­rent hos­til­i­ties between Israel and Hamas, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), an Al Qaeda inspired ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion based in Syria and Iraq, has used its media prowess to release a stream of threats against Israel while explain­ing to sup­port­ers that ISIS is cur­rently unable to actively fight against Israel.

In the sec­ond issue of ISIS’s Eng­lish lan­guage mag­a­zine Dabiq, released July 27, 2014, it clearly explained this posi­tion, while wast­ing no words in espous­ing its inten­tions against Israel:

“As for the mas­sacres tak­ing place in Gaza against the Mus­lim men, women, and chil­dren…” read the magazine’s for­ward, “the Islamic State will do every­thing within its means to con­tinue strik­ing down every apos­tate who stands as an obsta­cle on its path towards Pales­tine. It is not the man­ner of the Islamic State to throw empty, dry, and hyp­o­crit­i­cal words of con­dem­na­tion and con­do­lences like the Arab tawāghīt do in the UN and Arab League. Rather, its actions speak louder than its words and it is only a mat­ter of time and patience before it reaches Pales­tine to fight the bar­baric jews (sic) and kill those of them hid­ing behind the ghar­qad trees – the trees of the jews (sic).”

The men­tion of ghar­qad trees refers to a hadith, a state­ment attrib­uted to Mohammed, some­times cited by extrem­ists as an order to kill Jews.

Although threats against Israel make up a small por­tion of ISIS’s over­all rhetoric, they are an ongo­ing ele­ment of the group’s over­all mes­sag­ing. Offi­cial ISIS media accounts included a num­ber of graph­ics last month threat­en­ing Israel. Sev­eral sim­i­lar graph­ics have been posted since, includ­ing an image of mis­siles point­ing upward with the cap­tion “The Islamic State pounds the Zion­ist entity with rock­ets and will con­tinue hit­ting their fortresses with a bloody clap that will worry them. We will raise the dis­grace with our hands and with all our strength we will push them back.”

Pro-ISIS Twit­ter accounts have also reg­u­larly reposted state­ments from Ansar Beit al-Maqdis (Ansar Jerusalem), a ter­ror­ist group based in Gaza and the Sinai that has pro­claimed alle­giance to ISIS. These have included state­ments of sup­port as well as videos of attacks against Israel claimed by Ansar Beit al-Maqdis.

Semi-official pro-ISIS Twit­ter accounts have added to the threats as well. For exam­ple, “The Light Series,” a group that dis­trib­utes pro-ISIS videos to YouTube that has received high lev­els of acclaim from ISIS mem­bers and sup­port­ers online, has shared images of allegedly Pales­tin­ian chil­dren dressed as Hamas mil­i­tants and a poster depict­ing a quote from Osama bin Laden say­ing, “Their rejec­tion of Hamas after it had won the elec­tion con­firms that there is a Crusader-Zionist war against Muslims.”

Sim­i­larly, the Twit­ter account “Prophet’s Khi­lafa,” an unof­fi­cial ISIS account that claims to be “ded­i­cated to spread­ing the news of the Islamic State to the Eng­lish speak­ing audi­ence,” has posted images of destruc­tion in Gaza and a series of posters depict­ing anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­ries such as “Jews after eman­ci­pa­tion involved in slave trade, women traf­fick­ing and prostitution.”

Indi­vid­ual sup­port­ers are also adding to the cho­rus. One image in par­tic­u­lar depicts ISIS’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (now call­ing him­self Caliph Ibrahim) stand­ing in front of an ISIS flag and a pile of ruins, while the Dome of the Rock mosque (and in some ver­sions also the Al Aqsa mosque) shine in the back­ground. Posted on July 9th and in mod­i­fied form on July 11th, the images have been shared on a num­ber of pro-ISIS accounts.

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July 23, 2014 0

ISIS Faces Resistance From Social Media Companies

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has gar­nered atten­tion for its sophis­ti­cated use of social media. While the ter­ror­ist group has built on tech­niques pio­neered by other ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions to spread its mes­sages and recruit fol­low­ers, social media com­pa­nies are increas­ingly shut­ting down ISIS accounts and frus­trat­ing its pro­pa­ganda dis­tri­b­u­tion mechanisms.

On July 12, ISIS announced that sev­eral of its main media accounts would be sus­pend­ing their use of Twit­ter in favor of a social media ser­vice called Frien­dica. This came after sev­eral weeks dur­ing which Twit­ter shut down ISIS offi­cial sites and ISIS replaced them with new ones.

Almost imme­di­ately, mul­ti­ple ISIS sup­port­ers joined Frien­dica to fol­low the group.

On July 20, the con­tent was deleted from seven of ISIS’s new Frien­dica sites. Every page on the Frien­dica web­site now comes with a ban­ner at the top stat­ing “Islamic State not wel­come on friendica.eu.”

On July 20, ISIS tried again, cre­at­ing accounts on alter­nate social media sites Quit­ter and Dias­pora. Although the Dias­pora accounts remain up, the Quit­ter accounts were shut down on July 23, replaced with a pic­ture pro­mot­ing peace and coex­is­tence (see image), a link to a web­site sell­ing books about Mahatma Gandhi and text in Eng­lish and Ara­bic stat­ing, “When you fight evil with evil – evil wins.”isis-quitter-diaspora-twitter-terrorism

In the past week, Twit­ter also shut down mul­ti­ple accounts rep­re­sent­ing ISIS regional commands.

ISIS has already recre­ated some of its accounts on Twit­ter. Ale3tisam, an offi­cial ISIS media out­let that had unsuc­cess­fully attempted to migrate to Frien­dica and Quit­ter, returned to Twit­ter and cre­ated a new account on July 23.  Sev­eral of the regional groups have done so as well. There also remain mul­ti­ple ISIS sup­port­ers with Twit­ter accounts who them­selves reg­u­larly share offi­cial propaganda.

Ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions are resource­ful enough to find new out­lets when their accounts are shut down. ISIS has con­tin­ued to cre­ate and dis­trib­ute media to wide audi­ences through­out the last three weeks. How­ever, there is no doubt that they also lose plat­forms and power, fac­ing greater dif­fi­culty in spread­ing their hate. By respond­ing aggres­sively to ter­ror­ist accounts, social media com­pa­nies have the power to decrease sig­nif­i­cantly the reach of ter­ror­ists’ hate­ful messages.

Indi­vid­u­als can also aid in the process. ADL’s Cyber-Safety Action Guide enables the com­mu­nity to reg­is­ter con­cerns with Inter­net ser­vice providers when they encounter ter­ror­ist con­tent online.

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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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