The MEMRI Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor tracks the multiple ways in which jihadi groups are using social media such as Facebook, YouTube, and now Twitter - including "tweeting" news flashes, reporting attacks, battles, and other operational activities, sharing videos, inciting to Jihad and more. See:
- "Twitter Continues To Evade Explaining Its Breaking of U.S. Law and Its Indirect Support For Online Jihad: The Case of Hizbullah and Al-Manar TV," MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis No. 777, December 22, 2011, https://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/5942.htm
- "Somali Al-Qaeda Affiliated Al-Shabaab Tweets Jihad and Martyrdom," MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis No. 772, December 13, 2011, https://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/5912.htm
- "UK Home Office Bans 'Terror Organization' Muslims Against Crusades; Group Spokesman Anjem Choudary Still Communicating Via Twitter, YouTube," MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 4278, November 11, 2011, https://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/5809.htm
- "Deleting Online Jihad on Twitter: The Case of British Jihadi Anjem Choudary - Tweeting for the Caliphate and the Conquest of the White House," MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis No. 755, November 4, 2011, https://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/5779.htm
- "Why Haven't the Taliban's Twitter Accounts Been Shut Down?" MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis No. 746, October 7, 2011, https://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/5707.htm
This research also details Twitter's declared policy relating to U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organizations that use its service - a use that violates U.S. law and indirectly supports online jihad.
The latest terrorist organization to begin tweeting, joining Hizbullah, the Somali Al-Qaeda linked group Al-Shabaab, the Taliban, and many others on which MEMRI will be reporting soon, is Hamas. (For more on Hamas, see "The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement - Hamas," MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 3867, https://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/5319.htm .)
It should be noted that other Palestinian groups designated by the U.S. as foreign terrorist organizations use Twitter as well, including the PFLP (http://twitter.com/PFLPgaza), which was designated an FTO in 1997 (see Appendix III).
The following report examines how the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas and its multiple apparatuses, ranging from its official information ministry, its military wing, its TV and radio channels, and its spokesman all use Twitter.
Hamas - A U.S.-Designated Foreign Terror Organization
Hamas was designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. Department of State in April 1993. The FBI and U.S. Department of Justice stated in 2004 that Hamas threatened the United States through covert cells on U.S. soil.
In testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2005, FBI director Robert Mueller stated that his organization "believed that the main interest of Hamas in the U.S. remained the raising of funds to support their regional goals. Of all the Palestinian groups, Hamas has the largest presence in the U.S., with a robust infrastructure, primarily focused on fundraising, propaganda for the Palestinian cause, and proselytizing. Although it would be a major strategic shift for Hamas, its U.S. network is theoretically capable of facilitating acts of terrorism in the U.S"
Now Tweeting: Hamas' Al-Qassam Brigades, Al-Aqsa TV, Officials, Radio
Since Hamas sent its first tweet on November 21, 2009, it has posted a total of over 9,220 tweets in its various accounts, and has gained over 19,036 followers. The accounts include those of Hamas Info - the main organization's office, Hamas' military arm Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' media wing Al-Aqsa TV, Hamas Political Bureau deputy chairman Moussa Abu Marzouq, Izzat Rishq, a senior Hamas official based in Syria, and Hamas Radio (see Appendix II).
The following are Hamas' various Twitter accounts:
Hamas Info (http://twitter.com/hamasinfo)
Hamas Info began tweeting on November 18, 2010. As of December 27, 2011 Hamas Info had posted 834 tweets and gained 4,047 followers.
Al-Qassam Brigades (http://twitter.com/AlqassamBrigade)
The Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' military wing, was founded in 1992, with the primary objective of building a cohesive military organization to support the goals of Hamas. In March 2002, the United States designated the Al-Qassam Brigades a foreign terrorist organization.
The Al-Qassam Brigades began tweeting on November 21, 2009. As of December 27, 2011 it had posted 2,282 tweets and gained 1,456 followers.
The Al-Qassam Brigades tweets include speeches and communiquÃ©s by the Hamas political and military leadership, excerpts from the Koran to incite jihad and martyrdom attacks, and links to YouTube videos inciting to violence, and even calls for "a new Holocaust."
Also tweeted are specific "military statistics" including the number of jihadist and martyrdom operations by Hamas, such as "the total number of the Zionists who were killed and injured by our hands reached to (7767)" and the number of "shelled targets by Al-Qassam Brigades of Zionists with homemade projectiles"; how many Al-Qassam martyrs and how many "Zionist soldiers" it killed, as well as calls for abducting Israelis, announcements of missiles and mortars fired at Israel, claims of responsibility for terror attacks, and more.
One tweet, sent December 21, 2011 stated: "Hamas calls for forming Arab army to liberate O. Jerusalem qassam.ps/news-5208-Hama..." with a link to the Al-Qassam web page that featured a press released by Hamas. The press release stated: "The Palestinian refugees in Arab countries at the vanguard of this army and called on the Arab countries witnessing the Arab spring to take the lead in creating the atmosphere and starting preparatory steps for the formation of this army. The first of these steps it to form Al-Quds brigade in each of these Arab countries and invite Palestinian refugees to take part in it." The press release concluded, "We are confident that the battle for liberating Jerusalem has become closer than ever, and we are promised an imminent victory by God."
"Zahar: Jews will soon be expelled from Palestine http://www.qassam.ps/news-3735-Zahar_Jews_will_soon_be_expelled_from_Palestine.html" was another tweet that linked to the Al-Qassam website, and to a post on a speech by a Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Zahar. The post stated: "Al-Zahar says Jews were kicked out by France, Britain, Russia and Germany 'because they betrayed, stole and corrupted these countries.' The Jews will soon be expelled from Palestine that same way they were kicked out by France, Britain, Belgium, Russia, and Germany. [...] But they have no place here amongst us because of their crimes. They will soon be expelled from here and we will pray at the Aqsa Mosque [in Jerusalem]."
"Hamas & the Islamic Jihad 'the heart of the resistance'" http://www.qassam.ps/news-3688-Hamas__Islamic_Jihad_the_heart_of_the_resistance.html" was a tweet by the Al-Qassam Brigades which included a link to a speech by Islamic Jihad leader in Syria Ramadan Shallah, in which he said, "[T]he slogan of all should be that Israel must be wiped out of existence." (For more tweets, see Appendix I.)
Al-Aqsa TV Channel (http://twitter.com/AqsaTVChannel)
On January 7, 2006, Hamas launched its TV channel, Al-Aqsa TV. On March 18, 2010, the U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions against Al-Aqsa TV and designated it a terrorism-financing organization. The actions taken by the U.S. Treasury Department freezes all assets held by Al-Aqsa TV under U.S. jurisdiction and prohibits U.S. persons from engaging in any transactions with them. The Treasury Department stated that Al-Aqsa TV is financed and controlled by Hamas, serving as a primary Hamas media outlet that airs programs "designed to recruit children to become Hamas armed fighters and suicide bombers upon reaching adulthood."
Following the U.S. Treasury Department's actions, France moved to ban the broadcasting of Al-Aqsa TV in France. Al-Aqsa TV Channel began tweeting on September 14, 2011. As of December 27, 2011 it had posted 731 tweets and gained 4,351 followers.
Moussa Abu Marzouq, Hamas Political Bureau Deputy Chairman (http://twitter.com/mosa_abumarzook)
Hamas Political Bureau deputy chairman Moussa Abu Marzouq was listed as a Specially Designated Terrorist by the U.S. Treasury Department in 1995, and is currently on the re-named Treasury Department's Specially Designated National list under a number of alternative spellings: Dr. Musa Abu-Marzuq, Sa'id Abu-Marzuq, Mousa Mohamed Abou Marzook, Musa Abu Marzouk, and Musa Abu Marzuk. He is also listed under the alias Abu-'Umar.
Abu Marzouq began tweeting on July 24, 2011. As of December 27, 2011 he had posted 79 tweets and gained 524 followers.
Izzat Rishq, Hamas Political Bureau Member Based in Syria (http://twitter.com/izzat_risheq)
Izzat Rishq, a senior Hamas official based in Syria, is a member of the organization's Political Bureau. Rishq began tweeting on September 2, 2011.
As of December 27, 2011, he had posted 1,171 tweets and gained 2,547 followers.
Appendix I: Al-Qassam Brigades Tweet Koran Excerpts Inciting Jihad, Suicide Attacks; "Military Statistics" Including Jihad/Suicide Operations; Targets Shelled; Missiles and Mortars Fired at Israel; Claims of Responsibility for Killing Jews and Terror Attacks
The following are notable tweets by the Al-Qassam Brigades:
*Statements by HAMAS leaders in Support of Jihad
AlqassamBrigade PM Haniya, "We clearly say that the militant resistance is the only way for liberating the land". December 14, 2011
AlqassamBrigade Haniya: Palestine belongs to Palestinians qassam.ps/news-5189-Hani... December 17, 2011
AlqassamBrigade Zahar:" Hamas renewed the history of resistance and Jihad"qassam.ps/news-5173-Zaha... December 14, 2011
AlqassamBrigade Abu Obeida is talking on al Aqsa TV, in Gaza city, directing messages to the Araband Muslim nations and for the Zionists October18, 2011
AlqassamBrigade Who is the Qassam commander Ismail Lubad?http://qassam.ps/news-4360-Who_is_the_Qassam_commander_Ismail_Lubad.html April 2, 2011
AlqassamBrigade Abu Obeida: Today operation is a message and response"http://qassam.ps/news-4306-Abu_Obeida_Today_operation_is_a_message_and_response.html March 19, 2011
AlqassamBrigade Zahhar: We are close to historic victoryhttp://www.qassam.ps/news-4014-Zahhar_We_are_close_to_historic_victory.html January 10, 2011
AlqassamBrigade Zahar: Jews will soon be expelled from Palestinehttp://www.qassam.ps/news-3735-Zahar_Jews_will_soon_be_expelled_from_Palestine.html November 7, 2010
AlqassamBrigade Abu Obeida the spokesman of al Qassam brigades declares responsibity. http://almoltaqa.ps/english/showthread.php?p=60827#post60827 March 26, 2010
AlqassamBrigade Dr-Rantisi said " All we are going to die , either by cardeic arrest or abachi i prefer to be by Abachi" January 25, 2010
*Official Calls For Conquering Israel and Jerusalem
AlqassamBrigade Hamas calls for forming Arab army to liberate O. Jerusalem qassam.ps/news-5208-Hama... December 21, 2011
AlqassamBrigade On Nakba Day: "The Zionist project must end" - Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades http://bit.ly/lxnRzH May 15, 2011
AlqassamBrigade Our only goal is to liberate Palestine http://www.qassam.ps/news-3915-EQB_Our_only_goal_is_to_liberate_Palestine_from_the_occupation.html December 15, 2010
AlqassamBrigade Hamas: Resistance will free Palestine http://www.qassam.ps/news-3898-Hamas_Resistance_will_free_Palestine.html December 11, 2010
AlqassamBrigade Hamas & Islamic Jihad "the heart of the resistance."http://www.qassam.ps/news-3688-Hamas__Islamic_Jihad_the_heart_of_the_resistance.html October 30, 2010
AlqassamBrigade Military Communique by al-Qassam Brigades: http://almoltaqa.ps/english/showthread.php?p=60833#post60833 March 26, 2010
AlqassamBrigade Are You Prepared for Death http://www.almoltaqa.ps/english/showthread.php?p=60562#post60562 March 21, 2010
AlqassamBrigade Jurisprudence of jihad http://almoltaqa.ps/english/showthread.php?p=59938#post59938 March 10, 2010
*Claims of Responsibility for Attacks and Calls For Future Attacks
AlqassamBrigade Al Qassam Brigades: "the total number of the Zionists who were killed and injured by our hands reached to (7767)". December 14, 2011
AlqassamBrigade (E.Q.B), the armed wing of Hamas released on Wednesday a new military static on the occasion of Hamas 24th anniversary. December 14, 2011
AlqassamBrigade Since the founding of Hamas, its armed wing, Ezzedeen Al Qassam Brigades (E.Q.B) shelled Zionist targets with 11093 homemade projectiles. December 14, 2011
AlqassamBrigade During the past 24 years of Hamas founding, Al Qassam Brigades implemented 1117 Jihadist operations, 87 were martyrdom operations. December 14, 2011
AlqassamBrigade During the past 24 years, Al Qassam mourned 1848 martyrs, while it has killed 1365 Zionist soldiers and injured 6411others. December 14, 2011
AlqassamBrigade Al Qassam Brigades vows to abduct more soldiers qassam.ps/news-5044-Al_Q... October 23, 2011
AlqassamBrigade Breaking news: Palestinian resistance factions launch 7 Grad missiles and 10 mortars at Israeli military bases on Sunday morning, 2011. August 21, 2011
AlqassamBrigade Al Qassam brigades declares responsibility for killing two Zionist soldiers. http://almoltaqa.ps/english/showthread.php?p=60827#post60827 March 26, 2010
AlqassamBrigade The popular resistance is no substitute for the armed resistance qassam.ps/news-5131-The_... November 27, 2011
AlqassamBrigade Al Qassam Brigades pound Israel's army military bases http://qassam.ps/news-4396-Al_Qassam_Brigades_pound_Israels_army_military_bases.html April 9, 2011
AlqassamBrigade E.Q.B declares responsibility for Sa'ad operation http://qassam.ps/news-4391-Al_Qassam_declares_responsibility_for_Kfar_Saad_operation.html April 7, 2011
AlqassamBrigade Al Qassam targets Israeli military bases near Gaza http://qassam.ps/news-4304-Al_Qassam_targets_Israeli_military_bases_near_Gaza.html March 19, 2011
*Linking To Youtube - Videos of Attacks
AlqassamBrigade youtube.com/watch?v=bIO4W3... July 11, 2011
AlqassamBrigade YouTube - Intifada 3 (15-05-2011) - Trailer http://bit.ly/hwQnWK April 14, 2011
AlqassamBrigade YouTube - Third Palestinian Intifada Official Promo! http://bit.ly/euFavi April 14, 2011
AlqassamBrigade video: launching two Qassam rockets at the Israeli military base of Sofa. http://www.alqassam.ps/arabic/video1.php?id=479&cat=4 April 11, 2011
AlqassamBrigade Qassam:Khanyounis operation(video) http://www.qassam.ps/index.html March 31, 2010
AlqassamBrigade Videos by Al-Qassam Brigades http://www.alqassam.ps/arabic/video1.php?id=267&cat=1 January 28, 2010
AlqassamBrigade Video: I am the Resistanc http://almoltaqa.ps/english/showthread.php?p=57928#post57928 January 26, 2010
*Outreach and PR Efforts
AlqassamBrigade Al Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas to hold a joint press conference in Gaza at 11:00 am in Al Katiba square in Gaza city. April 3, 2011
AlqassamBrigade Al Qassam Brigades invites local and international media outlets to cover its unique and informative-military conference for importance. December 25, 2010
AlqassamBrigade Facebook bans Al Qassam English homepage http://www.qassam.ps/news-3872-Facebook_bans_Al_Qassam_English_homepage.html December 4, 2010
AlqassamBrigade Third Intifada page regains 27,000 fans in first day http://qassam.ps/news-4354-Third_Intifada_page_regains_27000_fans_in_first_day.html March 31, 2011
AlqassamBrigade Al Qarni in response to Zionists: capture soldier- get $100,000 qassam.ps/news-5060-Al_Q... October 27, 2011
AlqassamBrigade One Nation For New Holocaust, God willing. check this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETt2FHdy8Kc&feature=player_embedded#at =55 April 7, 2011
AlqassamBrigade Hamas has new initiatives in store http://www.qassam.ps/news-4192-Hamas_has_new_initiatives_in_store.html February 20, 2011
Appendix II: Hamas Radio Twitter Accounts
Al-Aqsa Voice Breaking [http://twitter.com/alaqsavoice_brk]
Al-Aqsa Voice Breaking began tweeting on October 12, 2011. As of December 27, 2011 it had posted 1,086 tweets and gained 4,952 followers.
Al-Aqsa Voice [http://twitter.com/Alaqsavoice]
Al-Aqsa Voice began tweeting on September 10, 2011. As of December 27, 2011 it had posted 3,037 tweets and gained 1,159 followers.
PFLP Gaza [http://twitter.com/PFLPgaza]
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) was designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997. PFLP Gaza began tweeting on June 4, 2011. As of December 27, 2011 it had posted 349 tweets and gained 71 followers.
*Steven Stalinsky is the Executive Director of The Middle East Media Research Institute.