Extremism, Terrorism & Bigotry

ISIS Supporters Distribute Series of Articles Encouraging Lone-Wolf Attacks

  • September 1, 2017
ISIS lone jihad

Islamic State is using Jihadi online forums to release a three-part English-language guide to conducting lone-wolf terror attacks. The first two articles frame the 1990 assassination of Meir Kahane as a model for future attacks, but also promote more unusual attack methods -- such as injecting poison into consumer products at shopping malls. The series strongly resembles other forms of propaganda, issued in a more informal format.  It illustrates the repetitive, seemingly desperate nature of the organization’s calls for notoriety, violence and resurgence.

Rabbi Kahane, who founded the Jewish Defense League, was shot and killed while speaking at a public event in Brooklyn in 1990. The gunman, Egyptian-born American citizen El Sayyid Nosair, was acquitted of murder and sentenced to prison on lesser charges. Nosair helped plan the 1993 World Trade Center bombing from his prison cell and was found guilty of masterminding “terror conspiracy.” He is now serving a life sentence in prison at the United States Penitentiary, Terre Haute. 

The author of “Historical Antecedents of Carrying the Solitary Jihad in Kuffar [non-Muslim] Countries” writes, “as a result of Kahane’s assassination his group [the Jewish Defense League] was dissolved and vanished, “ and calls Nosair a “hero” for killing “the fanatic Zionist rabbi.” The article also praises other past attacks on Jews, recalling when “a Jordanian soldier…boldly opened fire at a number of female Jewish students…that were mocking the Muslim prayer,” and when “the heroic soldier Sulayman Khatir opened fire…at a group of Jews who tried to infiltrate the Egyptian borders.” 

The series is being released at an interesting time—just weeks after the Barcelona attacks that killed 14 and injured over 130.  As Islamic State continues to lose territory in the Middle East, calls for and the execution of lone-wolf attacks will continue, and the propaganda and attacks fit a pattern that speaks to their desperation to hold onto their once-notorious reputation.

Over the years, ISIS’ strategy has shifted from encouraging followers to move to areas under the group’s control to urging aspiring fighters to stay in their current location and carry out attacks on the organization’s behalf.  

This strategy is highlighted in the second article of the series, released on August 31st, “Knights of Lone Jihad 2: Methodology,” which specifically addresses followers who “can not make hijra to the Islamic state(sic).” 

The article encourages hard-to-detect attacks that require little organization, including car-ramming, stabbings, and bombs: “Have multiple tools on hand…take a car and roll them without fear – take a knife and make them bleed as many as possible – hit them with a strong Explosion(sic) that infused terror into their black hearts.” As past attacks in London, Nice, and now Barcelona indicate, these types of attacks have become the new face of terrorism. Each attack has impacted the international community, receiving weeks-long media coverage and inciting fear across the globe. 

New approaches to sowing terror are always welcome, the article continues: “There are plenty of methods to attack my brother – Take poison in injections and enter malls and inject products with poison.” 

The third installment of the series, the authors promise, will provide clear instructions for carrying out the attacks, specifying “the following metes and how to carry them out In Sha’Allah.” 

Extremism, Terrorism & Bigotry