Islamic State (ISIS) Editorial: Lone Wolf Attacks In The West Prove The Success And Influence Of ISIS's Narrative And The Failure Of The Global Coalition Against ISIS; Lone Wolf Operatives May Not Be Official Members, But They Prove Their Allegiance To ISIS In Blood

July 5, 2024

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On July 4, 2024, the Islamic State (ISIS) released Issue 450 of its weekly newsletter, Al-Naba', which featured an editorial titled, "They Are of Us and We Are of Them" referring to the preparators of recent lone wolf attacks in European cities.[1] It included a cover photo showing some of the perpetrators who were behind the recent attacks in Moscow, Brussels, Zurich, Dagestan's Derbent and Makhachkala, and Belgrade.

"Lone Wolves Are Part Of ISIS Even If They Are Not Members"

The editorial underlined that even though some of these preparators were not active members of ISIS yet, their documented pledges of allegiance to the group indicate that they had strong bonds with ISIS – which is far more important than their organizational affiliation.

"The pledge of allegiance is not an organizational connection as much as it is a religiously-recognized connection. Therefore, how many people are among us [i.e., ISIS members] but are not among us? We are not connected to them by administrative ties, but we are connected to them by a divine belief, jihad, and loyalty. They signed their pledges with their blood and documented their affiliation with their sacrifices. These [operatives] are of us and we are of them, no matter how far apart our homes and countries are," it said.

"ISIS Is Behind Recent Attacks In Europe, Even If It Did Not Claim Them Officially"

Highlighting the recent attacks in Europe, which expanded ISIS's stage of operation beyond the Middle East and Africa, the editorial praised "the escalation of distant attacks in the capitals and embassies of the disbelievers," explaining that even though ISIS has not claimed responsibility for some of them, the group is still responsible for inciting such attacks.

Further, the editorial noted that the group has a specific protocol for determining whether it will claim responsibility for such attacks or just praise them.

"We remind you that the Islamic State has a specific policy that it follows when it comes to taking responsibility for these attacks, or for merely blessing and praising them, as [it] strives tirelessly to commit itself to the shari'a in inciting and supporting [attacks] by all available religious means. This is no secret, and it is [ISIS's] duty, and from Allah is help and support."

"Europe-Based Attacks Prove ISIS Has Effective Messaging"

Boasting that lone wolf attacks are the fruitful outcome of ISIS's powerful narrative, the editorial credited the attacks to the group's messaging, saying that it has "proved the effectiveness of the Islamic State's discourse and its ability to influence the zealous sons of Islam, thus transcending the barriers of borders, languages, ​​and races."

"The Failure Of The Global Coalition Against ISIS"

The attacks in Europe, the editorial continued, "inevitably confirm the failure" of the "misinformation and distortion" campaigns run by the U.S-led Coalition against ISIS.

Elaborating on the "Crusaders' failure," the editorial mocked the Coalition, saying that these campaigns failed to stop Muslim youth from joining or supporting ISIS, nor did they prevent them from acting on the directives of ISIS's leadership.

"ISIS Prioritizes Lone Wolf Jihad"

Reminding the readers of these directives, the editorial highlighted that the leadership of the group instructed Muslims that "if they [i.e., Western authorities] close the door of [jihadi] migration in your faces, then open the gates of hell on them in their own homes. If they prevent you from joining the Caliphate, then be a piece in its structure wherever you are and water its plants with your pure blood."

Crediting ISIS for being the power behind lone wolf attacks in the West, the editorial claimed that the group "has made great efforts in this important jihadi dossier, through its leaders, soldiers, military, security personnel, and its media instigators who continue to manage it."

It went on to add that the efforts of ISIS leadership and members in this kind of jihad, i.e., lone wolf attacks, have resulted in "continuous bleeding and escalating terror in the heart of the infidels' [homelands]" explaining that some of these efforts, which were translated into attacks, were officially announced and others were not.

"This dossier is one of the images of the effectiveness of the Islamic State's approach to 'globalizing jihad' and taking it out of the bottle of regional and nationalist fighting and returning it to its original state: pure jihad that transcends all earthly, ignorant borders and is not bound by any controls other than those of divine law and the prophetic Sunnah [the Prophet Muhammad's commands]."

"ISIS Jihad Is The Model"

Discrediting other jihadi models that justify alliance with the Shi'ite regime of Iran or with western governments, the editorial mocked those who do so, saying:

"This in turn presents a shining practical model for alliances of faith, far from the quagmire of ignorant and suspicious alliances that the jihadist movements have been involved in, both in the past and in the present, and which have ended in methodological disasters and calamities, which have made 'Karzai[2]' and 'Khomeini[3]' acceptable allies."

Message To Potential Lone Wolves

Addressing supporters around the world, including active members and those who independently pledge allegiance, the editorial said:

"This is a message to the sons of the Islamic State around the world, whether those who have the means to join its units or have been prevented by technical or security obstacles, or have joined it through allegiance and loyalty [–] we inform you that this important door of contemporary jihad is given great attention by the Islamic State, so you should give it great attention, each in his own front: the media incites and stirs up stagnant waters, the cleric reconfirms and reassures hesitant hearts, and the security [operative] follows up and directs the solitary lions [i.e. lone wolves]."

It further noted that "documenting the act [of carrying out an attack], despite its importance, should not be an obstacle to its completion. It is sufficient to be honest, follow, and trust in Allah the Almighty."

In a second message, the editorial criticized Muslims and supporters who are reluctant to join ISIS's ranks of jihad, saying:

"We also draw the attention of Muslims who are watching what is happening without having a stake in the heart of the matter. We say to them: Life is passing, calamities are many, developments are accelerating, and those who rush in are not like those who delay. Those seeking safety will not attain it, except where it originates, in the fields of jihad and faith."

The editorial concluded by saluting those who carried out lone wolf attacks in support of ISIS ideology, describing them as heroes and urging supporters to follow in their footsteps.

"These bold attacks are an important note for those working in the field of advocacy, that these heroes are among the most deserving of this honorable description, for they are the ones who truly supported and proved their support through action. So let the supporters take as an example these bright models of support for the Prophet's method, who spoke little and did much, followed knowledge with action, and did not wade with those who wade [in the shallows], but rather waded into the depths of death in support of their religion and to exalt the law of their Lord, glory be to Him.

"They are of us and we are of them, wherever they are and settle, and they have fulfilled their allegiance and secured it with their blood. Is there any allegiance higher than the allegiance of blood? For it is the most truthful, most complete, most sublime, most sound in support, and most secure in connection. Whoever pledges allegiance, let this be his allegiance, and whoever takes an example, let these heroes be his role models."


[1] Telegram, July 4, 2024.

[2] Hamid Karzai is an Afghan politician who served as the fourth president of Afghanistan from July 2002 to September 2014, including as the first elected president of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan from December 2004 to September 2014.

[3] Ayatollah Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini was an Iranian Islamic revolutionary, politician, and religious leader who served as the first supreme leader of Iran from 1979 until his death in 1989.

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