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Renewed calls for lone-wolf attacks on U.S., France and Russia

Jihadists on the web have posted a series of messages calling for more attacks in the West, singling out the United States, France and Russia and emphasizing the effectiveness of so-called ‘lone-wolf’ jihad. In the latest instance, on an encrypted Telegram channel seen by The Foreign Desk, a pro-Al-Qaeda online media group called The Isnad Center, published posters, videos and messages urging jihadis to carry out terror attacks in the West rather than risk arrest by attempting to make Hijrah (migration) to places such as Iraq and Syria. isnad1“Dear Lone Mujahid,” one message reads, “if you dream of fleeing to the land of jihad to defend Muslims, then before you is the best chance for revenge and to punish the enemies of Allah in their homes and don’t hesitate and be of the most sincere intent and trust.” A poster showing a gun pointed at U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin reads: "Aim your weapon towards the Kufr nation and its crimes. Level your weapon and avenge for your wounded Ummah (Nation).”isnad2 Another poster featuring ‘Underwear Bomber’ Umar Farouk, who attempted to detonate a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day 2009 with a bomb hidden in his underwear, teases a question: “Why don’t you think of being the second Omar Al Farooq.“isnad3 With flags of the U.S., Russia and France referenced as “The important states,” another poster questions “Where will the next strike be? Time will tell.” Many posted messages feature excerpts from speeches by late American-born Al Qaeda leader Anwar Al Awlaki, who allegedly stated that “jihad against America is binding upon myself, just as it is binding on every other able Muslim,” and “America will never dream of living in peace unless we live it in Palestine." isnad4 Several posters feature countdown clocks at zero hour with bloody jihadi scenes in the background, suggesting the time for jihad is “now.” But jihadis are also warned to pick their targets carefully and to avoid direct targeting of Muslims. “We don’t want the enemy to use our attacks to harm the other general Muslims, rather it should be an encouragement to the general Muslims who should know the validity of our target's choice. For example, attacks of Charlie Hebdo, or execution of the Russian ambassador recently!” one message said. Instructions are also provided on how to claim attacks, with suggestions to schedule a Facebook post or an email prior to launching an attack and the importance of clarifying the incident as a jihadi attack is stressed. Links to Awlaki’s audio speeches are also provided, including one entitled “A message to the Muslims living in America.” Awlaki, or ‘Sheikh Anwar’ as he was often called, specifically targeted Western jihadi-wannabes and lone-wolf potentials. He was killed in a U.S. drone strike on Yemen in 2011 but his legacy has continued to embolden and inspire jihadis affiliated with both Al Qaeda and ISIS, from beyond the grave. Followers of the “Lone Mujahid” channel are advised to spread the channel’s content and further encourage acts of “lone Jihad.” The posts provide practical advice, suggesting jihadis disable microphones and cameras on their smart phones and warn not to browse jihadi channels on the phones they carry with them. There are also infographics on how to assemble home-made explosives and excerpts of inspiration from American-born jihadis whose writings have been featured in previous editions of Al Qaeda’s Inspire magazine isnad4 isnad2 isnad1 isnad3
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