Citing Failed 2001 Shoe Bomber Attack, Pro-Al-Qaeda Media Group Releases Manual For Lone-Wolf Attacks, Recommends: Avoid Old Mistakes, Prioritize Targets, Be Innovative

August 3, 2021

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On August 2, 2021, the pro-Al-Qaeda Al-Hikma ("wisdom") Media Foundation released a manual providing instructions to supporters for carrying out lone-wolf attacks and advising how to prioritize targets and develop innovative plans and new techniques.[1]

The manual's cover shows a photo of a pistol along with a note explaining that the manual contains "excerpts taken from some books on lone wolves."

Next, the manual highlights the elements that are required before carrying out a lone-wolf attack, underlining that the first condition is that the attack should be religiously legitimate.

"The operation should be acceptable according to sharia. We strictly warn against any attempt by a brother to take an action before studying it and asking if it is religiously legitimate or forbidden?!" 

It adds that a person should know what the consequences of his action are and that to do so, he should consult directly or indirectly with a trusted religious scholar. 

It further states that as a second requirement, the lone-wolf operation should aim to anger and hurt the enemy.

"A very important rule that you need to memorize very well and prioritize is that the more vexing the act of jihad is, the closer to Allah's heart it will be. Why? Because it is part of the concept of monotheism, which clearly indicates that one should disown disbelief and its followers."

After supporting this argument with Quranic verse, the manual explains that a jihadi has one soul and he should sacrifice it for a great cause, providing the following example:

"Let us assume that your target is a senior officer in U.S. intelligence and another who is a commando in the U.S. Army. Let us assume that you can carry out an attack against one of them. Which one should be your priority and which one will hurt the Americans most? Undoubtedly, the officer has greater priority, and so on. The more significant the target, the better the act, taking into account your resources and capacity."

However, the manual says, that does not mean that a person should sit still or postpone his operation until he identifies a very significant target. He should keep trying and if he cannot find such a target, go ahead and carry out the attack in the circumstances which the location and time provide him.  

Further, the manual advises that good planning, along with the right mental state, are a requirement for lone-wolf attacks, citing shoe bomber Richard Reid, who in December 2001 was captured after attempting to detonate his shoes while on a flight.  

"Any act which is preceded by poor planning will fail or be incomplete, weak, or even worse, the lone-wolf could get killed, injured, or captured. There are many incidents that testify to this, such as the case of brother Richard Reid, shoe bomber, may Allah free him."

The manual notes that the shoe bomber's failed attack took place shortly after the 9/11 attacks, adding that even though he passed all the security checks, his shoes did not detonate because the fuse did not work due to humidity.

"He should have added an additional fuse," said the manual.

To avoid a similar outcome, the manual recommends a solid plan and backup plan. "Do not take this lightly," it says, adding that the preparator should use his mind and be innovative in planning and utilizing new techniques.

"You must know that the enemy is an expert on your old technique, and he can kill you if you repeat the same style.  Fully deploy your brain innovatively and think of yourself as a top-notch (hacker). Science, technology, methods of defense and offense are rapidly developing in this era. You should try to beat your enemy in this field. Search for his weak points to destroy him with them. You should exploit this for the sake of Allah and to eliminate our enemy," the manual concludes.


[1] Telegram, Warith Al-Qassam, August 3, 2021.


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