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July 15, 2016

Terrorist Propaganda Encourages Attacks With Common Items

The use of a vehicle to kill civilians in yesterday’s apparent terror attack in Nice, France, serves as a reminder of how terrorist groups and their supporters encourage their adherents to carry out attacks with common resources.

In addition to run-over style attacks, terrorists have encouraged the use of common items such as household products to make bombs, as well as various other tactics in their online magazines, speeches and other propaganda.

Image encouraging car attacks from AQAP Inspire Mujahid Pocketbook propaganda

Image encouraging car attacks from AQAP Inspire Mujahid Pocketbook propaganda

The following list provides a sampling of some of the tactics promoted by foreign terrorist organizations in the last several years. Notably, a number of the suggestions are repeated by different groups, and the use of vehicles in attacks is a common theme.

ISIS:

  • The 14th issue of Dabiq, ISIS’s English-language propaganda magazine, called on supporters to assassinate prominent Muslim leaders in the U.S. and U.K. for not supporting ISIS, “with the resources available…(knives, guns, explosives, etc.).”
  • In a January 2015 speech, al Adnani similarly called for attacks, “whether with an explo­sive device, a bul­let, a knife, a car, a rock or even a boot or a fist.”
  • An ISIS video released in December 2014 stated, “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.”
  • In a September 2014 speech that was widely translated and shared over social media, ISIS spokesman Abu Mohamed al Adnani called for ISIS supporters to commit lone wolf attacks against civilians, and provided a number of suggestions for doing so, including by running them over. He stated: “If you are not able to find an IED or a bul­let, then sin­gle out the dis­be­liev­ing Amer­i­can, French­man, or any of his allies. Smash his head with a rock, or slaugh­ter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poi­son him…. If you are unable to do so, then burn his home, car, or busi­ness. Or destroy his crops.”

Al Qaeda:

  • Cover of the first issue of Inspire, AQAP's English-language magazine

    The first issue of Inspire provided directions to “make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom.”

    Following the terror attack in Orlando, a June 2016 publication released by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) provided advice for making copycat attacks more lethal and maximizing their propaganda value.

  • In May 2016, the 15th issue of Inspire magazine, AQAP’s English-language propaganda magazine’s provided sug­ges­tions for mak­ing bombs using readily available items to con­duct the assas­si­na­tions, includ­ing pack­age bombs, small bombs under cars, and bombs that can be attached to a doorframe.
  • In March 2014, the 12th issue of Inspire magazine provides instructions for assembling car bombs out of “easily available” materials.
  • In 2013, Inspire magazine, AQAP’s English-language propaganda magazine, issued a companion publication titled the “Mujahid Pocketbook,” which aggregated various attack suggestions promoted in Inspire and provided some additional suggestions as well. Plot ideas included torching parked vehicles, causing road accidents, starting forest fires, using vehicles to run over civilians, and building bombs.
  • In October 2010, second issue of Inspire magazine suggested using a modified vehicle to run over civilians and provided instructions on building an explosive device.
  • The first issue of Inspire magazine, released in July 2010, provided instructions for building a pressure cooker bomb, which can be made out of common household items.

Other terrorist organizations and their supporters have been similarly active in promoting various specific attack suggestions. This has been particularly clear among Palestinian terrorist organizations and their supporters, who have promoted suggestions that parallel those advocated by Al Qaeda and ISIS.

Terrorist supporters sometimes promote their own ideas for nontraditional attacks online as well. In a recent example, a discussion on a pro-ISIS forum that ran between June and July 2016 included a number of terror attack suggestions from forum users, some of which had been suggested by official terrorist propaganda as well. Among them were setting forest fires and calling in false reports of bombs to disrupt the operations of emergency services

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January 25, 2016

Terrorism in Israel in Perspective

By Jonathan Green­blatt
CEO of the Anti-Defamation League

This blog originally appeared in The Jerusalem Post

Beit Horon Terror Attack

The news the past few days has been horrifying. A mother of six children, a nurse, fatally stabbed in the doorway of her own home. Another woman, 18 weeks pregnant, knifed.

And these terror attacks follow scores of more shootings, car rammings and stabbings over the past four months at bus stops, in bars, and on street corners in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Afula, and elsewhere.

I would not assert that the world perennially ignores Israeli victims and downplays terrorism directed at Israelis. Just this week, reacting to the heinous murder of Dafna Meir and the attack on Michal Froman, U.S. officials called the attacks “barbaric” and said they were “appalled’ by these acts of terror.

Yet, one can’t deny that this ongoing wave of terrorism targeting Israeli civilians has gotten short shrift internationally. Recent media overviews of terrorist attacks appropriately list incidents in Paris, Burkina Faso, San Bernardino, Baghdad, Istanbul, and Nigeria. But it’s impossible not to notice that almost all such lists omit mention of those in Israel. This tolerance of terrorism against Israelis risks making it acceptable, and it must end.

Let’s put this violence into perspective. According to the IDF, since September 13, 2015, there have been 110 stabbings, 38 shootings and 22 car rammings, for a total of 167 terrorist attacks.  That’s an average of 1.2 attacks every day for the last 19 weeks. Even more horrifying, according to statistics from Magen David Adom, 29 people have been killed in terror attacks. With a per-capita adjustment, that’s the equivalent of 1,131 Americans killed by terrorists in the last four months. While there have been some new stories on the violence, there have been numerous headlines proclaiming “Palestinian killed” while only noting below that the individual had been killed in an effort literally to prevent them from stabbing Israelis on a street corner.

Can you imagine the outrage if that many Americans were killed by terror, or if Swedes were attacked by terrorists every single day for months?

To what can this muted response be attributed?  Certainly, there are some differences between the current terrorism afflicting Israel and the nature of the attacks in Paris or Nigeria. The perpetrators attacking Israeli civilians appear to be targeting Israelis alone, killing them simply for the fact that they are Israeli. In contrast, terrorists in Paris or San Bernardino appear to have been motivated to kill random individuals with the goal of expanding the threat and impact of the Islamic State.

But there’s more there. The reality is that, after decades of a prolonged Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the world has become accustomed to Israeli victims of terrorist violence in a way that simply is not the case when it comes to innocents in Paris or London or New York. The world sees itself as unconnected and fundamentally un-threatened when the victim is an Israeli and the perpetrator a Palestinian.

Moreover, while nearly all observers abhor such violence, they don’t react with the same emotion induced by other acts of terrorism because of an underlying sense that the violence is caused and even provoked by Israeli actions such as the ongoing occupation of the West Bank. Observers seem to believe that this is not a black and white situation that can be reduced to victim and perpetrator.

But that is exactly what it is.

A benign tolerance of violence against Israelis is intolerable. Terrorism is never justified, no matter the reason. Simply put, one can seek to right a wrong, but murdering people because of their nationality is always wrong. Moreover, the failure to condemn such atrocity inevitably haunts those who stand idly by.

The security crisis in Israel has gone on too long with too little outrage.  We owe it to all of them — Dafna and Michal, along with Naama and Eitam Henkin; Richard Lakin, Yaakov Litman and his son Netanel, and Ezra Schwartz, and many, many, more.

For them and for ourselves, it is our responsibility to ensure that there is vocal outrage at terrorism of any sort and strong support for the Israeli civilians who face this never-ending threat.

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January 25, 2013

American Sentenced For Planning Deadly 2008 Mumbai Attacks

David Coleman Headley

A Chicago judge yesterday sentenced David Coleman Headley, a Chicago resident who helped orchestrate the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, in which over 170 people were killed, including six Americans, to 35 years in prison.

Headley pleaded guilty in March 2010 to conducting surveillance on a number of targets in Mumbai between 2006 and 2008 on behalf of the Pakistan-based terrorist organization, Lashkar-e-Taiba’s (LeT). The targets included the Chhatrapati Shivaji railway station, the Taj Mahal and Oberoi-Trident hotels, the Leopold Café, and the Nariman House, the Mumbai headquarters of the Chabad Lubavitch movement.

Indian news sources reported that Headley posed as a Jew during a July 2008 visit to the Nariman House, where suspected members of LeT tortured and killed six people during the terrorist attacks four months later. LeT reportedly also tasked Headley with gathering details of Jewish centers across India. In March 2009, four months after the Mumbai attacks, Headley allegedly conducted additional reconnaissance of Chabad Houses in several cities in India, which included other Jewish centers in Delhi, Mumbai, Goa, Pune and Pushkar.

Headley was also charged with planning attacks with LeT targeting the Danish newspaper that had printed cartoons depicting Muhammad.Since 2000 several other American citizens have been linked to LeT, which embraces an anti-Western ideology that demonizes the United States, Israel and India.

Although Headley faced life in prison, the judge listened to prosecutors’ recommendations that he receive a lighter sentence due to his extensive cooperation in other terrorism trials.  His cooperation was most visibly demonstrated in the trial of his former friend, Tahawwur Rana, who was convicted in June 2011 of assisting Headley in planning the attack in Denmark and for providing material support to LeT. Rana was sentenced to 14 years in prison on January 17.

India has expressed disappointment in the lenient sentencing, saying that “all those involved… should receive death,” and pledging to continue to seek Headley’s extradition.

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