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March 13, 2015 1

Under Attack, ISIS Threatens Jews and Israel

Screenshot from the ISIS video

Screen­shot from the ISIS video

As the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) increas­ingly finds itself under attack in Iraq and Syria, it has used the mur­der of an indi­vid­ual it alleges was a Mossad spy to threaten Jews and Israel and thereby attempt to rally its supporters.

Anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sen­ti­ments are reg­u­larly uti­lized as tools by ter­ror­ist groups includ­ing ISIS to build sup­port and mobi­lize followers.

The mur­der is depicted in a video with nar­ra­tion promis­ing to con­quer Jerusalem, prais­ing the killing of Jews, and refer­ring to anti-Semitic vio­lence in France. Like the threats ISIS issued against Israel this sum­mer, it main­tains that the group is cur­rently occu­pied in Syria and Iraq but aspires to attack Israel in the future.

Some quotes from the video include:

  • “O Jews, Allah has gifted us with killing your fol­low­ers in your own strong­hold in France”
  • “As for the near-term, you will wit­ness the legions of the Khi­lafa pound­ing your lands and your fortresses. They will lib­er­ate Jerusalem from your filth, by Allah’s permission”
  • “Today we say to you, the Islamic con­quests have begun, and the Jews have become fright­ened because the promise is near.”
  • “So we fight in Iraq and our eyes are on Jerusalem”

The video’s vic­tim, an Arab-Israeli named Mohamed Musal­lam, is shot on cam­era by a boy who appears to be between 10 and 12 years old. Both the boy and the man super­vis­ing him are appar­ently French cit­i­zens, accord­ing to offi­cials and news reports. Some experts believe that the man is Sabri Essid, report­edly the half-brother of Mohammed Merah. Merah is respon­si­ble for a 2011 shoot­ing in a Jew­ish school in Toulouse, France, that left four dead, includ­ing three children.

At its con­clu­sion, the video also names 13 other indi­vid­u­als, all of whom have Arab names, who it claims are spies for Israel. Sev­eral appear to be Musallam’s fam­ily mem­bers, includ­ing his father and brother. The video pro­vides their names and maps their addresses. It also pro­vides sev­eral pic­tures for most of the indi­vid­u­als it named. This infor­ma­tion was reposted in a JustPaste.it doc­u­ment that was also shared on Twitter.

Accord­ing to his fam­ily, Musal­lam had trav­eled to Syria to join ISIS but later changed his mind and wanted to leave the group.

An ISIS supporter on Twitter wrote "Here is teh good news, today we kill the agents of Jews and tomorrow-God's willing - those cubs will kill the Jews."

An ISIS sup­porter on Twit­ter wrote “Here is the good news, today we kill the agents of Jews and tomor­row — God will­ing — those cubs will kill the Jews.”

Some ISIS sup­port­ers attempted to ensure the video was seen by Israelis by pro­mot­ing the link with a trend­ing Hebrew-language hash­tag that trans­lates to “the end that they don’t tell you.”

ISIS sup­port­ers online also responded to the video with addi­tional anti-Semitic sen­ti­ments. One sup­porter, for exam­ple, tweeted, “For those who said why don’t you fight Israel. Here is the good news, today we kill the agents of Jews and tomor­row — God will­ing — those cubs will kill the Jews.” The term cubs is a ref­er­ence to youth being indoc­tri­nated to sup­port ISIS, such as the boy in the video. ISIS mil­i­tants are some­times referred to as lions.

ISIS and its sup­port­ers have used anti-Semitism and threats against Israel to appeal to fol­low­ers on mul­ti­ple occa­sions, includ­ing through  threats against Israel this sum­mer, a video issued in June 2014 that threat­ened Jews, and in a promi­nent speech by ISIS spokesman Mohammed al-Adnani that alleged Jews con­trol U.S. for­eign pol­icy and are respon­si­ble for Amer­i­can inter­ven­tion in Iraq and Syria.

ISIS sup­port­ers have also recently estab­lished a cyber-alliance with anti-Israel hack­ers in an attempt to increase cyber-attacks on behalf of ISIS.

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February 27, 2015 2

ISIS Propaganda Videos Showcased on IS-Tube

IS-Tube

IS-Tube

Update — 3/3/15: ADL con­tacted Twit­ter about the asso­ci­ated han­dle. It has since been removed. 

Update — 2/27/15: ADL con­tacted Google about the web­site this morn­ing. It has since been removed. 

A web­site call­ing itself IS-Tube, pro­vid­ing access to an archive of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) pro­pa­ganda videos, is the lat­est exam­ple of ISIS’ sophis­ti­cated social media com­mu­ni­ca­tion and recruit­ment strate­gies, which have influ­enced a diverse group of peo­ple from around the world, includ­ing from the United States, through­out 2014.

The web­site fea­tures a large col­lec­tion of pro­pa­ganda videos cre­ated by offi­cial ISIS media out­lets, includ­ing ISIS’s feature-length film Flames of War, which presents an apoc­a­lyp­tic strug­gle between the ter­ror­ist group and the West, and the recent video show­ing the mur­der of Jor­dan­ian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh, who was cap­tured by ISIS and burned to death.

Vis­i­tors to the site can search for the videos they want to find via a search bar, or via drop-down menus that cat­e­go­rize videos by nar­ra­tor - for exam­ple, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Bagh­dadi or spokesman Abu Muhamed al Adnani – or by media group, includ­ing ISIS’s Al Hayat, Al Iti­sam, Furqan Media and Ajnad Media. Videos can also be searched by coun­try of origin.

The coun­try of ori­gin search includes Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Alge­ria, the Afghanistan region, Saudi Ara­bia and the Sinai, demon­strat­ing ISIS’s expan­sive claims of influ­ence through­out the region.

IS-Tube, hosted on a Google-owned IP block and reg­is­tered to what appears to an address in Ams­ter­dam, is asso­ci­ated with a spe­cific Twit­ter han­dle,  which directed users to the web­page as part of a new hash­tag cam­paign launched on Feb­ru­ary 26. The cam­paign encour­ages sup­port­ers to send tweets with the hash­tag #Islam­ic­State­Me­dia or a cor­re­spond­ing Ara­bic hashtag.

A tweet advocating attacks in conjunction with the #IslamicStateMedia hashtag campaign

A tweet advo­cat­ing attacks in con­junc­tion with the #Islam­ic­State­Me­dia hash­tag campaign

Calls for attacks against West­ern coun­tries and for Mus­lims abroad to travel to join ISIS in the region have been promi­nent among the mes­sages being tweeted by ISIS sup­port­ers using #Islam­ic­State­Me­dia, as have tweets of ISIS mag­a­zines, videos and other pro­pa­ganda con­tent in addi­tion to IS-Tube. One ISIS sup­porter, for exam­ple, tweeted an image of Hyper Cacher, the kosher gro­cery store attacked in Paris in Jan­u­ary, with the words, “Jihad is the path for Par­adise. O’ lone wolf, another attack like Paris attack #IslamicStateMedia.”

ISIS has con­ducted sim­i­lar hash­tag cam­paigns in the past, which it uses both to mobi­lize sup­port­ers and to adver­tise spe­cific mes­sages. Fol­low­ing the attacks on the Char­lie Hebdo offices and a kosher super­mar­ket in France in Jan­u­ary, ISIS sup­port­ers used the hash­tag  #Fight­ForHim to cap­i­tal­ize on the press sur­round­ing the attacks and call for addi­tional vio­lence. In June and August 2014, ISIS ini­ti­ated hash­tag cam­paigns using the phrases #Calami­ty­Will­Be­fal­lUS and #AMes­sage­FromI­SIS­toUS that threat­ened the U.S. and its citizens.

The 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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February 24, 2015 2

Al Shabaab Video Threatens Jewish and Western Targets

The video calls for attacks on "Jewish-owned Westfield shopping centers"

The video calls for attacks on “Jewish-owned West­field shop­ping cen­ters” and other shop­ping cen­ters in the U.S., U.K. and Canada.

A new video released by Al Shabaab, Al Qaeda’s affil­i­ate in Soma­lia, that encour­ages attacks against “Amer­i­can and Jewish-owned shop­ping cen­ters around the world,” high­lights the role of anti-Semitism in ter­ror­ist narrative.

The video focused on Al Shabaab’s Sep­tem­ber 2013 siege of the West­gate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, which lasted for three days and resulted in at least 67 fatal­i­ties. At the time of the attack, Al Shabaab claimed to have tar­geted that mall because it had “Jew­ish and Amer­i­can owned” shops. The new video affirmed Al Shabaab’s inter­est in Jew­ish targets.

Its release comes as other ter­ror­ist groups, includ­ing the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Al Qaeda, have issued calls for home­grown attacks in the West as they vie against each other for power and followers.

“West­gate shop­ping mall…is a four-story Israeli-owned com­plex,” the video’s nar­ra­tor stated, and in response to the attack, “Israeli secu­rity spe­cial­ists and FBI teams were…on the ground.” The video also put the nation­al­ity “Israeli” first in a list of nation­al­i­ties of the deceased.

Show­cas­ing the 2013 attack enables Al Shabaab to show off its accom­plish­ments to poten­tial new recruits, but the group also appar­ently hopes it may inspire copy­cat attacks. Address­ing West­ern sym­pa­thiz­ers, the nar­ra­tor stated, “We call upon our Mus­lim broth­ers, par­tic­u­larly those in the West…. imag­ine what a ded­i­cated mujahid (fighter) in the West could do to the Amer­i­can and Jewish-owned shop­ping cen­ters across the world.”

It then went on to issue more spe­cific threats: “What if such an attack was to call in the Mall of Amer­ica in Min­nesota, or the West Edmon­ton Mall in Canada? Or in London’s Oxford Street, or any of the hun­dred or so Jewish-owned West­field shop­ping cen­ters dot­ted right across the West­ern world…”

Although Al Shabaab has not staged any sig­nif­i­cant attack out­side East­ern Africa, it has posed a sig­nif­i­cant threat to U.S. secu­rity. At least 50 U.S. cit­i­zens and per­ma­nent res­i­dents have been charged with pro­vid­ing mate­r­ial sup­port to the group or are believed to have joined it. Some of those cit­i­zens are now actively recruit­ing U.S. cit­i­zens to join ISIS and other ter­ror­ist organizations.

Another recent Al Shabaab video, released in May 2014, called for lone wolf attacks in the West.

Anti-Semitism is at the core of Islamic extrem­ist ide­ol­ogy, and ter­ror­ist groups includ­ing Al Shabaab reg­u­larly use anti-Semitism to attract and rad­i­cal­ize poten­tial recruits. In the past, Al Shabaab declared an “open bat­tle” against Israel, which it called the “oppress­ing Zion­ist entity,” and against Jew­ish inter­ests in Africa. In an English-language mag­a­zine released in 2012, the group called Jews, “the worst enemy of Islam.”

The new video also high­lighted the impor­tance of social media as a vehi­cle for dis­sem­i­nat­ing ter­ror­ist pro­pa­ganda, claim­ing that “HSM Press (the Al Shabaab Twit­ter feed) soon became the most cred­i­ble source of infor­ma­tion on the attack,” and noted that Al Shabaab had live-streamed the attack on Twit­ter. The video itself was cir­cu­lated on YouTube and on links from Twit­ter to file-sharing sites.

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