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January 7, 2015 0

Paris Shooting Amid Increased Calls For Homegrown Attacks

Screenshot of an ISIS video encouraging attacks in France

Screen­shot of an ISIS video encour­ag­ing attacks in France

The attack on the French satir­i­cal mag­a­zine Char­lie Hebdo that left twelve peo­ple dead comes at a time when ter­ror­ist groups are increas­ingly encour­ag­ing their sup­port­ers in the West to carry out attacks in their home countries.

While no one has taken respon­si­bil­ity for the attack thus far and the per­pe­tra­tors are still at large, online ter­ror sup­port­ers have already claimed the attack as a vic­tory for their cause.  Char­lie Hebdo has been the focus of ter­ror threats since 2006 for their satir­i­cal depic­tions of Muham­mad and of Mus­lim countries.

While it is still not clear whether this attack was inspired by out­side forces, it is notable that some ter­ror­ist groups have con­sis­tently encour­aged fol­low­ers to orches­trate attacks in their home coun­tries rather than trav­el­ing abroad since at least 2010, per­haps most notably with the release of the first issue of Inspire, an Eng­lish lan­guage mag­a­zine pro­duced by Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula (AQAP).

Sim­i­larly, a 2011 video released by Al Qaeda’s Cen­tral orga­ni­za­tion fea­tured Amer­i­can Al Qaeda spokesman Adam Gadahn urg­ing sup­port­ers in the U.S. to pur­chase guns and under­take shoot­ing sprees.

In 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Al Shabaab (the Al Qaeda affil­i­ate in Soma­lia), which had pre­vi­ously encour­aged their adher­ents in the West to join them abroad, began advo­cat­ing indi­vid­ual attacks in the West as equally valuable.

In addi­tion, ter­ror­ist groups have been claim­ing credit for such “free­lance ter­ror­ism,”  includ­ing lone wolf-style attacks. Both ISIS and AQAP, for exam­ple, wrote about and to some extent claimed credit for attacks in New York, New Jer­sey, Okla­homa, Canada and Aus­tralia.

The fol­low­ing is sam­pling of calls for home­grown attacks in 2014, includ­ing those in the U.S. and France:

Decem­ber 2014: An ISIS video call­ing for French Mus­lims to either travel to Iraq and Syria or under­take attacks at home stated, “Oper­ate within France. Ter­ror­ize them and do not allow them to sleep due to fear and hor­ror. There are weapons and cars avail­able and tar­gets ready to be hit. Even poi­son is avail­able, so poi­son the water and food of at least one of the ene­mies of Allah. Kill them and spit in their faces and run over them with your cars.” This video has been recir­cu­lated by ter­ror sup­port­ers on social media in the after­math of the Jan­u­ary 7 attack.

Image from Inspire 13

Image from Inspire 13

Decem­ber 2014: The 6th issue of ISIS’s English-language mag­a­zine Dabiq praised indi­vid­ual attacks on var­i­ous West­ern coun­tries includ­ing the U.S., Canada, Aus­tralia and France, stat­ing, “There will be oth­ers who fol­low the exam­ples set by Man Haron Monis and Numan Haider in Aus­tralia, Mar­tin Couture-Rouleau and Michael Zehaf-Bibeau in Canada, Zale Thomp­son in Amer­ica, and Bertrand Nzo­hab­onayo in France, and all that the West will be able to do is to anx­iously await the next round of slaughter.”

Decem­ber 2014: The 13th issue of AQAP’s Inspire mag­a­zine called for attacks on Amer­i­can, French and British air­lines and assas­si­na­tions of promi­nent West­ern finan­cial lead­ers.  Quotes included, “The Lions of Allah who are all over the globe – some call them lone wolves – should know that they are the West’s worst night­mare,” and, “It’s not nec­es­sary to do what Mohammed Atta (of the 9/11 attack) did, it’s enough to do what Nidal Hasan (the Ft. Hood shooter) did.”

Decem­ber 2014: An ISIS video fea­tured a Cana­dian recruit address­ing peo­ple in Canada who threat­ened the Cana­dian peo­ple and called upon Cana­dian Mus­lims to carry out attacks, stat­ing, “You either pack your bags or you pre­pare your explo­sive devices. You either pur­chase your air­line ticket or you sharpen your knife.”

Novem­ber 2014: An ISIS video titled “What are you wait­ing for,” released in French with Eng­lish and Ara­bic sub­ti­tles, called for attacks on France and fea­tured var­i­ous French mem­bers of ISIS call­ing on their com­pa­tri­ots to attack France or travel to Syria. One specif­i­cally stated, “I send a mes­sage to my broth­ers and sis­ters that live in the land of Kufr (apos­tasy) – France. If you are unable to come to Sham (Syria) or Iraq… oper­ate within France. Ter­ror­ize them and do not allow them to sleep due to fear and hor­ror. There are weapons and cars avail­able and tar­gets ready to be hit. Even poi­son is available….”

Octo­ber 2014: The 4th issue of ISIS’s Dabiq mag­a­zine included the text of a speech released in Sep­tem­ber (see below) that called for attacks on the West. It also included an image of indi­vid­u­als in busi­ness suits walk­ing on a side­walk with the cap­tion “Cru­sader ‘Civilians.’”

Image from Dabiq 4

Image from Dabiq 4

Sep­tem­ber 2014: ISIS released a text ver­sion of a speech by Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, the group’s pri­mary spokesman call­ing for attacks in theWest. Ini­tially released in Eng­lish, French and Hebrew, this was the first sig­nif­i­cant instance where ISIS incited home-grown attacks rather than encour­ag­ing travel to Iraq and Syria. Excerpts from the speech include: “If you can kill a dis­be­liev­ing Amer­i­can or Euro­pean – espe­cially the…French – or an Aus­tralian, or a Canadian…kill him in any man­ner or way how­ever it may be. Do not ask for anyone’s advice and do not seek anyone’s ver­dict. Kill the dis­be­liever whether he is civil­ian or military….”

August 2014: A spe­cial edi­tion AQAP English-language mag­a­zine titled “Pales­tine: Betrayal of the Guilty Con­science” attempted to har­ness anti-Israel sen­ti­ment to call for attacks against the U.S. and the U.K. The mag­a­zine reprinted instruc­tions for build­ing pressure-cooker bombs and car bombs from pre­vi­ous issues of Inspire. Quotes included, “We tell the Mus­lims in Amer­ica and Europe: There is a bet­ter choice and eas­ier one to give sup­port to your ummah (the Mus­lim com­mu­nity). That is indi­vid­ual work inside the West such as the oper­a­tions of Nidal Has­san (the Ft. Hood shooter) and Faisal Shazad (attempted Times Square bomber).”

May 2014: Al Shabaab released a video that called on Mus­lims liv­ing abroad to either join the group in Soma­lia or under­take “a lone wolf mis­sion” in their home country.

March 2014: The 12th issue of AQAP’s Inspire mag­a­zine pro­vided instruc­tions for mak­ing car bombs along with a list of poten­tial tar­gets in the U.S., U.K. and France. State­ments encour­ag­ing attacks on the West include, “Whether the brother has a chan­nel to join the broth­ers [abroad] or not it is bet­ter for him to per­form his duty of Jihad in the West. On the bat­tle­field, you are just another sol­dier, but in the West you are an army on your own.”

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December 2, 2014 0

Hackers Post Anti-Semitism On U.S. Universities’ Websites

Update — 12/04/14: ADL alerted Face­book about the “AnonG­host Team” page. The page has been removed. 

The hacker group AnonG­host Team claimed respon­si­bil­ity for the hack­ing of sev­eral Amer­i­can uni­ver­si­ties’ web­sites, includ­ing those of Port­land State Uni­ver­sity, Utah State Uni­ver­sity, Olin Col­lege of Engi­neer­ing, Stan­ford Uni­ver­sity, Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­sity in St. Louis and other edu­ca­tional insti­tu­tions in the U.S.anon-ghost-hack

The hack­ings redi­rected web­site vis­i­tors either to pages play­ing a record­ing of the Quran and fea­tur­ing a mes­sage in Eng­lish that starts with an anti-Semitic pro-terror state­ment, “Death to All Jews…Viva Hamas, Qas­sam” or to a page fea­tur­ing anti-Israel images and play­ing a pro-Qassam anti-Semitic song with the lyrics, “Teach the son of the Jew­ish woman how many times we will con­quer him.”

These hack­ings rep­re­sent part of a grow­ing phe­nom­e­non of hacker groups direct­ing web­site vis­i­tors to anti-Semitic and anti-Israel messages.

The AnonG­host Team announced these hack­ings on their social media plat­forms and also posted sev­eral state­ments claim­ing respon­si­bil­ity for the hack­ing of a num­ber of other web­sites in the United States, the UK and other parts of the world.

AnonG­host includes a num­ber of hack­ers, mostly from North Africa, who are active in tar­get­ing Israeli and Jew­ish web­sites and express sup­port for ter­ror groups such as the Islamic State (ISIS) and Hamas. In the past, group mem­bers were among the active par­tic­i­pants in an orga­nized cam­paign to launch cyber-attacks against Israel known as OpIs­rael.

The group also claimed that ear­lier this year it hacked sev­eral Jew­ish insti­tu­tions’ web­sites, includ­ing those of the Colum­bia Jew­ish Con­gre­ga­tion, the Jew­ish Com­mu­nity Action, Jew­ish Peo­ple Around the World and sev­eral others.

A hacker call­ing him­self Muri­ta­nia Attacker appears to lead the AnonG­host Team. Muri­ta­nia Attacker is a self-described anti-Semite, writ­ing on Twit­ter on Novem­ber 26 that “I am proud to be Anti-semitic , Death To All Jews ! [sic].” In June 2014, Muri­ta­nia Attacker was quoted in an online inter­view describ­ing the hack­ers in the AnonG­host Team as “14 years to 35 years old” and added “they are well edu­cated , and they all go to school … they are not brain­washed they know the truth.”

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November 25, 2014 0

Music Videos Enhance Violent Anti-Jewish Messages Online

Songs and music videos using the recent wave of ter­ror­ist attacks in Israel to glo­rify the attacks and encour­age more vio­lence are part of a larger online phe­nom­e­non where indi­vid­u­als cel­e­brate and pro­mote ter­ror­ism through pop­u­lar memes, graph­ics and videos.

Screenshot from "Runaway oh Zionist"

Screen­shot from “Run­away oh Zionist”

An ani­mated music video uploaded to YouTube on Novem­ber 18 called “Run­away oh Zion­ist” is an explicit ref­er­ence to the recent “run-over” car attacks in Israel.The song, pre­formed in Hebrew with Ara­bic and Hebrew sub­ti­tles, says, “Run­away oh you Zion­ist, Runaway…Minutes, and a car will run over you” and depicts a Jew­ish man singing about run­ning away from cars. In the part of the video where the Jew­ish man gets hit by a car at a bus sta­tion and thrown into a ceme­tery, the lyrics are, “A car will attack you from each direc­tion to give you a ride to the grave.” The song closes with “Run­away Zion­ists because you will be killed by all means.”

The video, which has received more than 98,000 views, was praised by Hezbollah’s media arm, Al Manar which stated, “the melody of this short video is very apt, and the ani­ma­tion is highly pro­fes­sional which indi­cates a qual­ity boom for the ‘resis­tance’ art in the Occu­pied Ter­ri­tory [Palestine].”

Another song cir­cu­lat­ing online titled “Run-over this set­tler” is per­formed by a Pales­tin­ian duo. The song includes the lyrics “Pre­pare your ambush on the road, run-over them; may god help you.” It also praises Abdul­rah­man al-Shaloudi, the ter­ror­ist who rammed his car into a group of Israeli pedes­tri­ans last month, killing a baby and a young woman. One lyric says that he “Ran-over a Jew­ish settler…did it, with his lim­ited resources, for his coun­try.” The lyrics also callupon Pales­tini­ans to “wait for them at the inter­sec­tion, let the set­tler sink in the red blood. Ter­rify them don’t be mer­ci­ful.” Jordan-based Al Yarmuk satel­lite TV sta­tion aired the song on its chan­nel as well.

Var­i­ous YouTube users have cre­ated their own videos and made use of this song as well, bring­ing the total num­ber of views for this song to more than 260,000.

Sim­i­lar user gen­er­ated con­tent began cir­cu­lat­ing online within min­utes of the bru­tal ter­ror attack that killed five peo­ple in a Jerusalem syn­a­gogue. In addi­tion to those images and car­toons glo­ri­fy­ing the attack, another song, titled “The one who knocks the door will hear the answer” was uploaded to YouTube by the pop­u­lar Pales­tin­ian singer Qasim Al-Najar. The song received more than 154,000 views in the first sev­eral days. The song’s lyrics urge Israeli Prime Min­is­ter Netanyahu “to col­lect his Rab­bis,” warn­ing that when Jerusalem revolts it will slaugh­ter the settlers.

The Pop­u­lar Front for the Lib­er­a­tion of Pales­tine, which claimed respon­si­bil­ity for the Syn­a­gogue attack, also released a video on YouTube titled “With a butcher’s knife, a gun, and an Iron will.” The song says “oh set­tler, this is your destiny…your death is inevitable.” The song also praises the Pop­u­lar Front and describes its mem­bers as “walk­ing in defi­ance over death and slaugh­ter­ing them [Israelis] like sheep.”

The PFLP’s song has attracted only 5,800 view­ers on YouTube, which fur­ther attests to the sig­nif­i­cance of user gen­er­ated con­tent to spread mes­sages of vio­lence and anti-Semitism.

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