The Unaccompanied Muslim Minor Refugee Terror Attack in London

Taking in refugees causes terror.

Front Page Magazine, by Daniel Greenfield, Sept. 18, 2017:

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.

Last decade, Ronald and Penelope Jones were being feted for their work as foster parents. Now their suburban Surrey home was raided in an investigation into the train bombing in London.

The Joneses had won praise for fostering hundreds of children. But their growing interest in taking in refugees from Muslim countries turned their pleasant home with its wooden fences and green backyard into a ticking time bomb.

And that bomb may have gone off at the Parsons Green station leaving behind flash burns and horror.

Earlier, the Joneses had admitted that, “We’ve had a real mix of children from Iraq, Eritrea, Syria, Albania and Afghanistan.” The tidal wave of refugees from these countries has swept across Europe bringing terror and death.

Ronald Jones, 88, and Penelope Jones, 71, like so many well-meaning Westerners, had no idea what they were letting themselves in for until the police were hammering at their door. Now they themselves have been turned into refugees, seeking shelters with relatives, while the police search for clues to the latest terror attack.

The couple became interested in fostering “refugees” when the media barraged helpless listeners with sob stories of Syrian suffering. But while they spoke often of children, the actual migrants are adults.

At the center of the case is Yahyah Farroukh, a Syrian, in his twenties. Farroukh was no child.

Neighbors described a constant flow of traffic to the Jones home. The visitors wore the traditional Islamic clothing often associated with the Jihadists who are the core of the European terror threat.

Prayer mats were set out in the garden. And there were constant cell phone conversations.

Farroukh allegedly invaded Europe by taking a migrant boat from Egypt to Italy.

Another of the alleged Jones “refugees” is an 18-year-old Iraqi from Baghdad who had apparently been monitored by law enforcement. And may have even been previously arrested. A refugee charity allegedly helped bring him to the UK. And arranged to have him placed with the Joneses.

The Iraqi had overloaded even the endless generosity of the Joneses who reportedly found him troublesome and dangerous. And that must have taken some doing.

It was this Iraqi whom police may suspect planted the bomb at Parsons Green station. And when the bomb went off on a crowded train on Friday, the holiest day in the Islamic religion, the manhunt began.

The Iraqi refugee was arrested trying to buy a ticket to Calais.

Calais to Dover is the route that refugees take to penetrate the UK. The Joneses had spoken of one “boy” in their care who had “managed to get in a lorry travelling through Calais.”

The Iraqi refugee suspect had originally come through Calais, but now he was headed the other way.

France has even better developed Islamic terror networks than the UK. And from Calais, it’s a few hours to the terrorist no-go zones of Brussels in Belgium, where terror plots originate and anything goes, or to the Islamic suburbs of Paris like Sevran. And the terror traffic may go both ways.

Last month, Bachir Hamou, an Algerian, rammed a car into French soldiers near Paris. He was caught by French authorities in Pas-de-Calais. Where was he headed? The Joneses may not be the only ones who take in “refugees”. Westerners take them in before they kill. Their Islamic comrades take them in afterward.

The Iraqi suspect in the Parsons Green attack had come by way of Calais and its infamous “Jungle camp”. Had he reached his destination, he would have found illegal contacts and allies to move him onward. The UK had already taken in “vulnerable” minors from the “Jungle” as part of a deal to dismantle it despite warnings that they might represent a terror threats. But the horde of migrants from Muslim countries are still besieging the UK and France.

The news reports say that he penetrated the UK as an “unaccompanied minor”. And minors need foster parents to “care” for them. That was how the Joneses came into the story.

But many of the “unaccompanied minors” who arrived during the migrant surges that plagued Europe and America were never minors. They were adult men pretending to be teenagers.

The Iraqi suspect in the Parsons Green bombing case hasn’t been named. The Syrian has. But the names and ages mean very little. Despite the vocal protestations of refugee activists and the media, we cannot vet or verify the masses of migrants who claim to be arriving from war torn terror states.

The names and ages are meaningless.

In Sweden, the migrants can be listed as “children” if they “don’t look over 40”. Back in the UK, a 12-year-old “child refugee” from Afghanistan raised his foster mother’s suspicions when she noticed how hairy he was. He turned out to be a decade older. His last words to his foster mother were, “I’ll kill you and I know where your children are.”

Back when they were being feted for their dedication to fostering children, Mrs. Jones had said, “I treat them how I would like to be treated if I was in that situation.”

The trouble though is that Islamic terrorists aren’t Mrs. Jones. And when the shoe is on the other foot, it turns out to have a bomb in it.

Westerners opened their hearts to the “child refugees”, but the children turned out to be violent men with a nasty tendency to kill, threaten and rape. The cuckoo’s eggs have hatched into vicious bombings and horrifying attacks. Sympathy for the Syrian devil ends in coffins and hospitals.

We don’t know everything that there is to know about the Parsons Green attack. And considering the tendency of the authorities to minimize the terrorism angle, it’s possible that we never will.

But we do know that thoughtless kindness to evil can be the worst sort of cruelty.

Leftist critics tell us that Islamic terrorism is blowback for the cruelty of our foreign policy. But it is most often blowback for the misplaced kindness of their immigration policy. As we once again debate the Muslim travel ban, we ought to consider the case of an elderly British couple who just wanted to help.

But their kindness was sadly misplaced. The wages of that kindness allegedly burst into a fireball in the London Underground, scorching commuters who only wanted to make it to the weekend.

The Joneses had wished to take in vulnerable children. Instead they housed angry men. And those angry men are suspected of setting off a bomb on a train packed with children. It was these children, not the migrant refugees playing at being unaccompanied minors, who were the true vulnerable children.

It was they who deserved kindness and care. Not their attempted murderers.

This was the horror that the misplaced kindness of taking in Muslim migrants brought to the UK.

“There was a poor little boy smashed into the floor with his face bleeding and screaming. There was a woman shouting that she was pregnant… Kids were being pushed out of the way and their nannies and mothers were trying to grab them… There was a girl with no skin on her legs, one with the back of her garment burned away.”

Those who made it possible for the terrorists to commit this atrocity were not being kind. They were being cruel.

Welcoming terrorists to the United Kingdom or the United States, to Canada or to Australia, is not kindness. It is cruelty. What feels good can end with children screaming in the London Underground.

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In fact, a recent report examining 63 Islamic terror incidents over the past three years in Europe and North America – killing 424 people and injured nearly 1,800 – found that 74 percent of the attackers were already known to authorities.

How many more have to die at the hands of “Known Wolf” terrorists before government officials take the problem seriously? Many more, it seems.

As of June 30, according to the UK Home Office, “there were 204 persons in custody in Great Britain for terrorism-related [offenses], an increase of 35% on the 151 persons in custody as at the previous year.” This continues “the upward trend seen in terrorist prisoners over the last few years.”

Of the 204 people in custody, “the majority (91%) held Islamist extremist views.” A “further 5% held far right-wing ideologies, and 4% other ideologies.” In its report earlier this month, the UK Home Office published the bar chart below showing the number of people in custody due to suspected terrorism-related offenses since June 2015:

Earlier this year, British officials said they were investigating 500 possible plots involving 3,000 people on the “top list” of suspects at any given time. In addition, 20,000 other people are on the counterterrorism radar for one reason or another and are still considered potentially problematic.

The British government previously warned that the Islamic State has created an “unprecedented” level of threats, both in terms of “range” and “pace.”

More Information Emerges on Foreign Jihadi Fighters in the Philippines

Terror Trends Bulletin, by Christopher Holton, June 1, 2017:

A couple of years ago the Philippine government THOUGHT that they were making progress in ending the long-raging Islamic insurgency on Mindanao.

Clearly, efforts to negotiate a truce with Jihadists there did not work out so well.

Entering into truces with Jihadis is never a good idea for reasons based on Islamic doctrine but in this case, the insurgency reignited for other reasons as well.

Just a few years ago the players in the Jihadist insurgency were the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MIF), Abu Sayaff, Jemaah Islamiyah, and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

Then something significant happened: in the summer of 2014, at least a section of Abu Sayyaf pledged allegiance to the Islamic State:

https://terrortrendsbulletin.com/2014/08/04/abu-sayyaf-joins-the-islamic-state/

Now, in 2017, violent Jihad in the Philippines has escalated to the point that Islamic State Jihadis were able to seize a city of 200,000 for the better part of a week.

The biggest aspect of this development is the revelation that there are foreign fighters involved in the fighting in the Philippines. In fact, given the geographic distribution of the reported foreign fighters, as well as the intensity of the fighting there over the past 10 days, one has to consider that it is very possible that the Islamic State has set its sights on the Philippines as the next theater in the global Jihadist insurgency.

“Indonesians, Malaysians, Pakistanis, Saudis, Chechens, Yemenis, Indians, Moroccans, and Turks have been identified among the militants…”

http://dailycaller.com/2017/06/01/philippines-becomes-hotbed-for-isis-activity-as-foreign-jihadis-join-the-fight/

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-philippines-militants-foreigners-idUSKBN18Q0OO

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Islamic State propagandist was ‘brainwashing’ children, US military says

Long War Journal, by Thomas Joscelyn, March 3, 2017:

The US military announced today that a senior Islamic State (ISIS) propaganda official was killed in an airstrike on Mar. 25 in Al-Qa’im, Iraq. The propagandist, Ibrahim al-Ansari, was killed along with “four of his associates,” according to Joe Scrocca, the public affairs director for Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR).

Al-Ansari “was a leader in producing and disseminating propaganda to direct, encourage and instruct terror attacks, as well as to recruit foreign terrorist fighters,” Scrocca said. He “promoted terror attacks against US and Turkish citizens” and was also responsible for “the brainwashing of young children to perpetuate ISIS’s brutal message,” Scrocca added.

The Islamic State is not only “brainwashing” children, but has also used dozens of them in suicide bombings, including during its defense of the city of Mosul. And the group openly boasts of using children in its vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) attacks. See FDD’s Long War Journal report, Islamic State uses improvised weapons of war in Mosul, Iraq, for two photos of children recently used in VBIED operations. The Islamic State’s propaganda machine regularly produces many more examples.

Some of the organization’s gruesome videos also feature children performing executions on behalf of their elders.

Al-Ansari’s “propaganda encouraged ISIS followers to conduct knife attacks, vehicle attacks and arson attacks against American and other Western citizens,” Scrocca explained. “This strike will disrupt ISIS’s ability to create propaganda — propaganda to [incite] terror into the region as well as in our homeland, and has struck communications between other ISIS members.”

The US and its coalition partners have repeatedly targeted the jihadists’ senior media personnel. This effort goes back to the height of the Iraq War, when al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) became a prolific producer of videos, photos and other media. AQI and its successor, the Islamic State, have repeatedly replaced these propagandists. But the targeted strikes do, at times, slow the group’s ability to produce content.

Al-Ansari was not alone in promoting knife and vehicle attacks. This is one of the Islamic State’s long-standing themes.

For example, the group’s first spokesman, Abu Muhammad al Adnani, implored followers to use such crude tools in the West. “The best thing you can do is to strive to your best and kill any disbeliever, whether he be French, American, or from any of their allies,” Adnani said in one speech (titled, “Indeed Your Lord Is Ever Watchful”). Adnani continued: “If you are not able to find an IED or a bullet, then single out the disbelieving American, Frenchman, or any of their 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.”

Adnani was killed in a US airstrike near Al Bab, Syria in Aug. 2016. Another jihadist, known as Abu al Hassan al Muhajir, was announced as Adnani’s successor in Dec. 2016. In his first message, al Muhajir promoted attacks Turkey and the West.

The Islamic State has continued to promulgate Adnani’s guidance long after his death. The third issue of Rumiyah (Rome) magazine, which was released in Nov. 2016, included an article devoted to vehicle attacks that was entitled, “Just Terror Tactics.” The author wrote: “Having a secondary weapon, such as a gun or a knife, is also a great way to combine a vehicle attack with other forms of attacks. Depending on what is obtained, the kill count can be maximized and the level of terror resulting from the attack can be raised.”

The so-called caliphate’s followers have apparently followed through with this advice on multiple occasions, sometimes using knives, trucks, or both. Just weeks after Rumiyah was published last November, a Somali refugee named Abdul Razak Ali Artan drove his car into a crowd of people at Ohio State University before exiting the vehicle and using a knife to assault his victims. Eleven people were hospitalized as a result. Artan was quickly shot dead by a campus police officer. Amaq News Agency, the Islamic State’s main propaganda arm, claimed afterwards that Artan was a “soldier” of the caliphate.

On Mar. 22, Khalid Masood drove his car into a crowd near the British parliament in London and then jumped out and used a blade to assault others. Four people were killed and dozens more wounded. Amaq again claimed that Masood was a “soldier” of the caliphate. Still other Islamic State supporters have driven their vehicles into large gatherings elsewhere.

The Islamic State celebrates its media personnel as “martyrs” after they are killed either in combat, or in airstrikes by the US-led coalition. For instance, the two photos below purportedly depict members of the group’s propaganda division who were recently killed. The first one was identified Abu Ibrahim al-Iraqi.

Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for FDD’s Long War Journal.

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London terrorist a ‘soldier’ of the Islamic State, group claims

LONG WAR JOURNAL, BY THOMAS JOSCELYN | March 23, 2017

The Islamic State’s Amaq News Agency has issued a statement claiming that the terrorist responsible for yesterday’s attack in London was a “soldier” of the so-called caliphate.

Citing a security “source,” Amaq states: “The attacker yesterday in front of the British parliament in London was a soldier of the Islamic State, executing the operation in response to calls to target citizens of coalition nations.”

Amaq’s claim is similar to a series of statements that were issued after past operations across Europe and the US.

Thus far, Amaq hasn’t provided any specific details about the man responsible for killing at least three people, including an American citizen and a British policeman, and wounding dozens of others. The terrorist drove his vehicle into a crowd, then jumped out and used a blade to assault other people.

The UK Metropolitan Police has identified the terrorist as Khalid Masood, a 52 year-old man who was born in Kent and is believed to have been “most recently living in the West Midlands.” Masood was “known by a number of aliases,” but “was not the subject of any current investigations and there was no prior intelligence about his intent to mount a terrorist attack.

However, the Metropolitan Police says Masood “was known to police and has a range of previous convictions for assaults” and other crimes. His criminal record reportedly extends all the way back to Nov. 1983 and “his last conviction was in Dec. 2003 for possession of a knife.”

Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s propagandists have repeatedly encouraged followers to ram their vehicles into Western citizens. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has also promoted the idea.

Last year, jihadists used trucks during attacks in Nice on Bastille Day and at a Christmas market in Berlin. In both cases, Amaq described the attackers as a “soldier” of the caliphate.

Another similar assault was carried out at Ohio State University in November, when a Somali refugee, Abdul Razak Ali Artan, drove his car into a crowd of people before exiting the vehicle and then using a knife to assault his victims. Artan was quickly shot dead by a campus police officer. Once again, Amaq described him as the Islamic State’s “soldier.”

Amaq has repeatedly described terrorists as “soldiers” of the Islamic State

In addition to the instances mentioned above, Amaq and other Islamic State propaganda outlets frequently describe the terrorists who carry out such deeds as “soldiers” of the caliphate.

An Islamic State claim of responsibility doesn’t prove that the group had direct ties to the attacker. However, authorities have found that terrorists had digital ties, or were at least inspired by the Islamic State, in a number of cases. Islamic State operatives have also orchestrated a series of plots in the West.

For example, the Islamic State described the May 2015 shooters in Garland, Tex. and the couple who assaulted a holiday party in San Bernardino, Calif. as the group’s “soldiers.” The San Bernardino terrorists were also labeled “supporters.”

The shooters in Garland, Tex. reportedly communicated with Junaid Hussain, a key Islamic State operative who was killed in an American airstrike last year. And the husband and wife jihadists responsible for the massacre in San Bernardino pledged their allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi on Facebook prior to their demise.

The team of jihadists that carried out the Nov. 2015 assault in Paris was hailed as “a group of believers from the soldiers of the Caliphate.” In that case, the jihadists were directly dispatched by the Islamic State’s mother organization in Syria. The Paris attacks were different from the other, small-scale attacks claimed by the Islamic State and carried out by individuals in Europe.

Omar Mateen, who repeatedly pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi the night of his shooting at an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Fla. in June, was described as a “fighter” for the organization.

Amaq said Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, who drove a truck into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, France, was “a soldier of the Islamic State.” The same wording was also used to label a young slasher in Würzburg, Germany.

After the Nice, Würzburg, Ansbach (Germany) and Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray (Normandy, France) attacks, Amaq also emphasized that the men responsible had acted “in response to calls to target countries belonging to the crusader coalition.”

And after the operations in Würzburg, Ansbach, Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray and Balashikha (Russia), Amaq disseminated videos of the terrorists swearing allegiance to Baghdadi. The videos were recorded beforehand, demonstrating that the jihadists had at least some digital ties to the Islamic State’s operations.

Indeed, European officials discovered that a series of plots have been “remote-controlled” by the Islamic State’s digital operatives. American authorities have also found that the so-called caliphate’s men had virtual connections to a number of recruits who were intercepted before they could carry out their murderous acts.

Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for FDD’s Long War Journal.

Berlin truck terrorist pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi in video

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Long War Journal, by Thomas Joscelyn, December 23, 2016:

The Islamic State’s Amaq News Agency has released a video of Anis Amri, the Tunisian man suspected of driving a large lorry into a crowded Christmas market in Berlin on Dec. 19. Twelve people were killed and dozens more injured in the attack. Amri was reportedly killed in a shootout with police in Milan, Italy earlier today.

Prior to his demise, Amri recorded a video in which he swore bayah (oath of allegiance) to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, describing Baghdadi as the “Emir ul-Mu’minin” (“Emir of the Faithful”), a title usually reserved for an Islamic Caliph.

Amri went on to denounce the “crusader” bombings in the territories controlled by the Islamic State. And he called on Muslims to exact retribution by attacking inside the West.

Amri’s video was sent to Amaq, which posted the clip on its official website and social media after he was shot dead. Amaq also released a statement noting Amri’s death.

Amaq’s release of the video is consistent with the pattern followed after other Islamic State-claimed operations in 2016.

The terrorists responsible for small-scale attacks in Würzburg, Germany (July 18), Ansbach, Germany (July 24), Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, France (July 26), and Balashikha (east of Moscow), Russia (Aug. 17) all recorded videos of themselves pledging allegiance to Baghdadi before their hour of terror.

Their videos were sent to Amaq, which made minor additions (such as a title screen) and then released them online shortly thereafter. Screen shots from each of these videos can be seen below.

In other cases, terrorists have professed their fealty to Baghdadi and his so-called caliphate online or in phone calls, but their stated allegiance was not first released by Amaq.

For example, Omar Mateen, who massacred 49 people at an Orlando nightclub in June, repeatedly swore his allegiance to Baghdadi during conversations with authorities on the night of his attack. The couple responsible for the Dec. 2015 San Bernardino killings also referenced their bayah to Baghdadi on social media.

The Islamic State has claimed that its “soldier(s)” have been responsible for other attacks inside the US as well. Unlike in Europe, however, Amaq has not released videos from any of the attackers inside America.

There are multiple ways a jihadist can be affiliated with the Islamic State, or another terrorist organization. In some cases, such as the attack on Paris in Nov. 2015, the terrorists are dispatched by a group. In other instances, they receive some direction, either online or in person. European officials have described a series of plots in their countries as being “remote-controlled” by Islamic State handlers online. The aforementioned attacks in Ansbach and Würzburg, as well as others, fall into this category.

In still other scenarios, it appears the attacker was merely inspired by the jihadists’ propaganda. It often takes time for authorities to determine where a terrorist falls in this spectrum of connections, ranging from dispatched, to “remote-controlled,” to inspired.

Amaq’s release of the terrorists’ videos demonstrates that they are anything but “lone” actors. The videos suggest that the jihadists responsible for each of these attacks had at least one tie to the Islamic State, even if it was only a digital one. Other biographical details for at least some of the jihadists who have struck inside Europe demonstrate additional connections as well. For instance, the man who detonated his backpack bomb in Ansbach, Germany earlier this year had fought for the Islamic State in Syria.

Amri had his own ties to the Islamic State’s network and was on the US government’s no-fly list.

Citing “American officials,” The New York Times first reported that Amri had already “appeared on the radar of United States agencies.” Amri “had done online research on how to make explosive devices and had communicated with the Islamic State at least once, via Telegram Messenger,” the Times reported.

CNN reported that Amri “was known to German security services as someone in contact with radical Islamist groups, and had been assessed as posing a risk.”

Authorities tied Amri to Abu Walaa, an extremist preacher who was arrested in November. Abu Walaa, a native Iraqi, is a well-known, yet somewhat mysterious, preacher who indoctrinated Muslims in the ways of jihad. Some of his recruits are thought to have traveled abroad to wage jihad, including on behalf of the Islamic State. CNN’s Paul Cruickshank found that “as many as 20 Germans who have joined” the Islamic State had ties to Abu Walaa’s network.

However, Amri did not migrate to the lands of the so-called caliphate. Instead, he decided to lash out inside the West. The Islamic State has repeatedly told its followers that such plots are better than fighting in Iraq, Syria or elsewhere, as they do more damage to the jihadists’ enemies.

Screen shots from Amaq’s videos of the Würzburg, Ansbach, Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray and Balashikha terrorists swearing allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi:

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Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for FDD’s Long War Journal.

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Attack on Berlin Christmas market claimed by Islamic State

screen-shot-2016-12-20-at-3-47-24-pmLong War Journal, by Thomas Joscelyn, December 20, 2016:

The Islamic State’s Amaq News Agency has released a short statement claiming responsibility for the attack on a Berlin Christmas market that left 12 people dead and dozens more wounded yesterday. Amaq’s message, which was released on its website and via social media channels, doesn’t provide any details about the identity of the driver of the large lorry that was plowed into the market.

Amaq cites a “security source” within the so-called caliphate, as saying that “a soldier of the Islamic State…carried out the operation in response to calls for targeting nationals of the international coalition countries.”

So far, German authorities have been unable to identify the individual or group responsible. Earlier today, German officials released a Pakistani refugee who had been accused of driving the truck. “The investigation up to now did not yield any urgent suspicion against the accused,” various news outlets quoted the prosecutor’s office as saying.

The language employed by Amaq is nearly identical to previous claims of responsibility after terrorist operations in Europe, the US and elsewhere. The Islamic State has consistently described individual or small groups of terrorists as its “soldier(s).” Amaq frequently argues that these terrorists lashed out in response to the group’s calls for retribution against the nations participating in the international coalition fighting against the jihadists in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere.

For example, Amaq’s statement after a terrorist drove a truck into a crowd on Bastille Day in July in Nice, France was almost exactly the same. That attack left 86 people dead. [See FDD’s Long War Journal report: Islamic State claims its ‘soldier’ carried out Bastille Day attack in Nice, France.]

The jihadists have called for more slayings using vehicles. For instance, the third issue of the Islamic State’s Rumiyah magazine contained an article (“Just Terror Tactics”) advocating for the use of vehicles in terrorist operations. An image of a rental truck was displayed next to a picture of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and a photo of the aftermath in Nice.

“Though being an essential part of modern life, very few actually comprehend the deadly and destructive capability of the motor vehicle and its capacity of reaping large numbers of casualties if used in a premeditated manner,” the article in Rumiyah read. “This was superbly demonstrated in the attack launched by the brother Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel who, while traveling at the speed of approximately 90 kilometers per hour, plowed his 19-ton load-bearing truck into crowds celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, France, harvesting through his attack the slaughter of 86 Crusader citizens and injuring 434 more.”

“Vehicles are like knives, as they are extremely easy to acquire,” Rumiyah advised would-be jihadists. “But unlike knives, which if found in one’s possession can be a cause for suspicion, vehicles arouse absolutely no doubts due to their widespread use throughout the world. It is for this obvious reason that using a vehicle is one of the most comprehensive methods of attack, as it presents the opportunity for just terror for anyone possessing the ability to drive a vehicle.”

In fact, one of the Islamic State’s online handlers encouraged a teenage Afghan refugee to use a car instead of a knife during an assault on a train in Würzburg, Germany earlier this year.

On July 18, an Afghan refugee named Riaz Khan (also known as “Muhammad Riyad”) hacked at passengers on the train with an ax and a knife. As the German press later revealed, Khan was in near-constant contact with a digital operative inside the Islamic State’s home turf in Syria. A transcript of their conversation was first published by Süddeutsche Zeitung and subsequently reproduced by FDD’s Long War Journal. [See: Terror plots in Germany, France were ‘remote-controlled’ by Islamic State operatives.]

During a digital chat with Khan, the Islamic State’s man asked: “What kind of weapons do you intend to use to kill people?”

“My knife and ax are ready for use,” Khan replied.

“Brother, would it not be better to do it with a car?” the Islamic State plotter asked, before suggesting that Khan learn how to operate an automobile. “The damage would be much greater,” he told Khan.

But Khan was impatient, saying he “cannot drive” and “learning takes time.”

“I want to enter paradise tonight,” Khan explained.

And so Khan wounded several people on board the train, but fortunately failed to cause a large number of casualties.

Nearly one week later, on July 24, a Syrian refugee identified as Mohammad Daleel blew himself up outside of a music festival in the German city of Ansbach. Daleel, too, had been in regular contact with an online handler.

The Islamic State’s technique for guiding terrorists has become so common across Europe, especially in France and Germany, that officials now describe these operations as being “remote-controlled.”

All of the details concerning the driver in Berlin are yet to be reported. It remains to be seen if this person, or group of people, was also “remote-controlled,” or had other concrete ties to the Islamic State.

Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for The Long War Journal.

Terror plots in Germany, France were ‘remote-controlled’ by Islamic State operatives

Long War Journal, by Thomas Joscelyn, Sept. 24, 2016:

On July 18, an Afghan refugee named Riaz Khan (also known as “Muhammad Riyad”) assaulted passengers on a train in Würzburg, Germany with an ax and a knife. Nearly one week later, on July 24, a Syrian refugee identified as Mohammad Daleel blew himself up outside of a music festival in the German city of Ansbach. Approximately 20 people were wounded in the incidents.

Amaq News Agency, a propaganda arm of the Islamic State, quickly issued claims of responsibility for the operations. Amaq also released videos from Khan and Daleel in which they swore allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi.

As The Long War Journal reported at the time, the fact that Amaq was able to release the videos so soon after the attacks suggested that both were in touch with the Islamic State’s media operatives, or at least knew someone in the Islamic State’s network who could send the clips to Amaq. Therefore, they each had at least one tie to the Islamic State, even if it was only digital. [See LWJ reports: Teenager who terrorized German train appears in Islamic State video and Attacks in France and Germany claimed by Islamic State propaganda arm.]

German authorities discovered that there was much more to the story. Islamic State operatives provided specific direction to both Khan and Daleel via messaging applications. The jihadists did the same for a teenage girl who stabbed a police officer at the train station in Hannover, Germany in February. After the bombing in Ansbach, Bavaria’s Interior Minister, Joachim Herrmann, said that Daleel had been involved in an “intensive chat” that ended “immediately before the attack.”

“There was apparently an immediate contact with someone who had a significant influence on this attack,” Herrmann said, according to the Associated Press.

The evidence that has been uncovered in Germany and elsewhere in Europe shows that the Islamic State’s external operations arm has devised a new method for orchestrating terror. The group’s assistance goes far beyond mere inspiration in at least some cases.

In both Würzburg and Ansbach, the Islamic State’s external operations network guided the terrorists through their day of terror. The electronic fingerprints uncovered in these cases recently prompted Germany’s Interior Minister, Thomas de Maiziere, to say that the jihadists were guided by “remote control.” French prosecutor Francois Molins has used the same phrase, “remote-controlled,” to describe a group of women who were plotting terrorism in Paris.

Transcripts published by German press

On Sept. 14, Süddeutsche Zeitung, a newspaper based in Munich, published transcripts of the conversations Khan and Daleel had with their Islamic State handlers. The Long War Journal has obtained a translation of Süddeutsche Zeitung’s report. (Another translation has been published at Worldcrunch, a website that aggregates and translates news stories from around the globe.)

The Islamic State operatives tasked with directing Khan and Daleel are not identified and it is not clear if the same man chatted with both of them.

The details revealed in the transcripts are chilling. Khan and Daleel may have acted alone, in the sense that no other terrorist was physically with them when they struck. But they were certainly not “lone wolves” in any meaningful sense.

During a digital chat with Khan, the Islamic State’s man asked: “What kind of weapons do you intend to use to kill people?”

“My knife and ax are ready for use,” Khan replied.

“Brother, would it not be better to do it with a car?” the Islamic State plotter asked, before suggesting that Khan learn how to operate an automobile. “The damage would be much greater,” he told Khan.

But Khan was impatient, saying he “cannot drive” and “learning takes time.”

“I want to enter paradise tonight,” Khan explained.

16-07-19-muhammad-riyad-768x432As Khan inched closer to assaulting the train’s passengers, he had an “important thing” to tell the jihadist on the other end of the conversation. “Brother, I am sending you my video,” Khan typed. “I will carry out an attack with an ax in Germany today.” (A screen shot from the video, which was released by Amaq, can be seen on the right.) [above]

The handler was pleased, but insisted that Khan should use his ax, not a knife. “If you’re going to commit the attack, Allah willing, the Islamic State will claim responsibility for it.”

Khan said he was sending his video. The man on the other end told Khan to make sure he had created a backup.

“Pray that I become a martyr,” Khan wrote. “I am now waiting for the train.” Not long after, according to the transcript published by Süddeutsche Zeitung, Khan added: “I am starting now.”

“Now you will attain paradise,” Khan’s guide responded.

Süddeutsche Zeitung has also published a partial transcript of Mohammad Daleel’s chats with his Islamic State instructor as he scoped out the prospective target, as well as their discussions on the day of the bombing. The Islamic State’s Naba magazine subsequently identified Daleel as a veteran of the jihad in Syria, meaning he likely developed a rolodex of contacts.

“This area will be full of people,” Daleel wrote as he sent a photo of the venue where the music festival was to be held. “Kill them all in a wide open space,” the Islamic State’s man replied, “where they will lie on the ground.”

screen-shot-2016-07-26-at-12-57-52-pm-768x430The unnamed operative told Daleel (seen on the right) [above] to look for an appropriate place to put his bomb and then try to “disappear into the crowd.” The jihadist egged Daleel on, saying the asylum-seeker should “break through police cordons,” run away and “do it.”

“Pray for me,” Daleel wrote at one point. “You do not know what is happening with me right now,” Daleel typed, in an apparent moment of doubt.

“Forget the festival and go over to the restaurant,” the handler responded. “Hey man, what is going on with you? Even if just two people were killed, I would do it. Trust in Allah and walk straight up to the restaurant.”

It appears that Daleel may not have intended to detonate his explosives at that time. Der Spiegel previously reported that he intended to remotely detonate his backpack bomb, but it went off accidentally. Daleel may have also been planning additional attacks.

The German press has reported on a third instance of “remote-controlled” terror that took place on Feb. 26 at the train station in Hannover. A German-Moroccan girl in her teens, identified as “Safia S.,” assaulted a police officer with a knife. Authorities found that Safia had been in contact via a messaging app with an instructor known only as “Leyla,” who coached Safia as she planned the stabbing.

Part of the Islamic State’s external operations strategy

It is not a coincidence that both Khan and Daleel were “remote-controlled.” This is a deliberate part of the Islamic State external operation arm’s strategy, which aims to both direct and inspire smaller-scale attacks in Western nations. These operations are in addition to larger plots, such as the assault on Paris in November 2015.

Writing in Foreign Affairs, Bridget Moreng provided a comprehensive look at the role played by Rachid Kassim, who is one of the Islamic State’s “most dangerous virtual planners.” Kassim has been tied to a web of terror plots. For instance, as Moreng explains, investigators have found ties between Kassim and the two young jihadists who murdered a priest in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, Normandy in July.

screen-shot-2016-07-27-at-2-16-06-pmAs The Long War Journal reported at the time, Amaq News released a video from the two terrorists in which they swore allegiance to Baghdadi. A screen shot can be seen on the right. [above] The video was produced in the same format and style as Amaq’s releases after the attacks in Würzburg and Ansbach. [See LWJ report, Terrorists in Normandy swore allegiance to Baghdadi before attacking church.]

As Daveed Gartenstein-Ross and Nathaniel Barr explained in a piece at War on the Rocks, the Islamic State’s virtual planning network has digital tentacles around the globe.

This network extends into the US. Earlier this year, Munir Abdulkader pleaded guilty to terrorism charges after he admitted to communicating with Junaid Hussain, an Islamic State operative based in Syria who played a key role in the group’s digital strategy. According to the Department of Justice, Hussain “directed and encouraged Abdulkader,” who lived in Ohio, “to plan and execute a violent attack within the United States.” It is likely that Hussain was also in contact with the two gunmen who opened fire at an event dedicated to drawing images of the Prophet Mohammed in Garland, Texas on May 3, 2015. Hussain was killed in an American airstrike in Raqqa on Aug. 24, 2015.

[For more on Hussain, see LWJ reports: Ohio man conspired with Islamic State recruiter, Justice Department says and Prime Minister says 2 British nationals killed in airstrikes were plotting attacks.]

There is a debate in counterterrorism circles over how much credibility should be given to the Islamic State’s propaganda machine, including the Amaq News Agency. Each claim should be subjected to scrutiny. Some statements will be false and others exaggerated. But as the attacks in Würzburg, Ansbach and Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray show, Amaq’s claims cannot be dismissed out of hand. There is often at least some truth to Amaq’s claims. And, on multiple occasions, the terrorists acting in the Islamic State’s name have been anything but “lone wolves.” Instead, a virtual network guides them along away.

Notes:

*There have been conflicting reports concerning Riaz Khan’s country of origin. But most accounts agree that he was originally from Afghanistan.

**Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, Nathaniel Barr, and Bridget Moreng are all colleagues of the author.

Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for The Long War Journal.

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