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August 20, 2014 0

ISIS Backs Up Threats Against U.S. With Beheading

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), an Al Qaeda inspired ter­ror­ist group, released an English-language video in which it depicts the behead­ing of a kid­napped Amer­i­can journalist.foley-beheading-terrorism-isis

ISIS is claim­ing that it mur­dered the jour­nal­ist, James Wright Foley, because of U.S. airstrikes in Iraq. The video closes with an image of another kid­napped jour­nal­ist kneel­ing next to what appears to be the same exe­cu­tioner, who states “The life of this Amer­i­can cit­i­zen, Obama, depends on your next decision.”

The video is titled “A Mes­sage to Amer­ica.” It marks a new approach by ISIS, mak­ing good on threats against Amer­i­cans that the group only began cir­cu­lat­ing sig­nif­i­cantly this June. Such strate­gies have been used exten­sively by the ter­ror­ist group to intim­i­date ene­mies and oppo­nents on the ground, but had not pre­vi­ously been employed against Westerners.

In the video, footage of Pres­i­dent Obama announc­ing the airstrike cam­paign is fol­lowed by a state­ment by Foley in which he asserts U.S. actions are the cause of his death. Foley’s masked exe­cu­tioner then deliv­ers an address in British-accented Eng­lish in which he depicts the U.S. as an aggres­sor against ISIS and the Mus­lims who accept ISIS as a state, and says that any mil­i­tary action against ISIS will lead to more “blood­shed” of Amer­i­cans. The exe­cu­tioner then beheads Foley. After­ward, the other kid­napped jour­nal­ist is shown next to the executioner.

The release may improve ISIS’s recruit­ment capac­ity. ISIS broke with Al Qaeda Cen­tral in Feb­ru­ary, and the orga­ni­za­tions com­pete for recruits, fol­low­ers and influ­ence. ISIS’s rep­u­ta­tion for vio­lent action sur­pass­ing Al Qaeda’s has already con­tributed to its recruit­ment efforts, and if this video is seen by extrem­ists as a suc­cess­ful blow to the U.S. it may lead more to join ISIS.

The video was announced on Twit­ter and on the social media site Dias­pora on August 19, and was linked from the Inter­net Archive web­site, an online “dig­i­tal library” that is some­times used by ter­ror­ist groups as a repos­i­tory for online media storage.

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August 12, 2014 0

ISIS Renews Twitter Campaign Threatening U.S.

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Image tweeted by Al Bat­tar Media

In response to U.S. engage­ment in Iraq, ISIS sup­port­ers have renewed threats on Twit­ter that Amer­i­cans and the U.S. are at risk of attack. Most of the threats are being posted with the hash­tag #AMessageFromISIStoUS.

Although many offi­cial ISIS media out­lets have been deleted from Twit­ter in recent days, the Al Bat­tar Media han­dle, one of ISIS’s offi­cial accounts, has been post­ing threats, with tweets such as “Would you like to taste the losses, pain, death and all what you tasted in Iraq again?” and “O West­ern­ers, your gov­ern­ments have lost their minds, and they will let you pay the cost of their stu­pid­ity, the Islamic State is too strong, so you must yield to it, not fight it!”

An unof­fi­cial pro-ISIS account that tweets infor­ma­tion from Al Bat­tar media has also tweeted such mes­sages as “Lis­ten: All your bases in the Ara­bian Gulf are our tar­gets, and you know what we’ll do with the employ­ees!” “Tar­get­ing Iraq means tar­get­ing Amer­ica and Amer­i­cans in (sic) all over the world!” and “NOW we’re warn­ing the Amer­i­cans NOW our words speak After Airstrikes: We’re cut­ting their heads Our weapons speak!” All were tweet­ed­with the hash­tag #AMessageFromISIStoUS.

The “Shamal­mala­hem Media” han­dle, ded­i­cated to releas­ing pro-ISIS news, has been pref­ac­ing all of its tweets (regard­less of sub­ject) with the mes­sage from ISIS hash­tag or the hash­tag #Calami­ty­Will­Be­fal­lUS. Its tweets include descrip­tions and video of ISIS fight­ers attack­ing Kur­dish and Iraqi forces, as well as video in which it claims ISIS snipers are “catch­ing the Amer­i­can sol­diers in Iraq.”

Shamal­mala­hem Media has also released an eigh­tand a half minute video addressed “to the peo­ple of the united states (sic) and a mes­sage espe­cially to the (sic) barack obama (sic)” call­ing for the U.S. to remem­ber the destruc­tion it encoun­tered in the sec­ond Iraq war, and to expect worse should troops be sent. The video has since been removed from YouTube  as a vio­la­tion of the company’s policies.

As is typ­i­cal for ISIS social media cam­paigns, mul­ti­ple ISIS sup­port­ers are also tweet­ing var­i­ous threats with the same hash­tags. A num­ber of the sup­port­ers have specif­i­cally directed the threat against New York City, post­ing images of Times Square and of the falling Twin Tow­ers along with the mes­sage “The head of ISIS Sheikh Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi said: Our appoint­ment in New York.”

This cam­paign is the sec­ond time that ISIS orga­nized a Twit­ter cam­paign threat­en­ing the U.S. The first was in June when the group encour­aged fol­low­ers to tweet using the hash­tag #Calami­ty­Will­Be­fal­lUS, to warn the U.S. against engage­ment in Iraq.  That hash­tag has occa­sion­ally been used in the cur­rent cam­paign as well.

ISIS has become well known for its sophis­ti­cated use of social media even as it is increas­ingly blocked by social media sites.

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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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