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memri
November 1, 2017 No.
7158

ISIS Outlet Calls For Terror Attacks On Halloween Before Manhattan Truck Attack, ISIS Supporters Celebrate Attack After

The following report is now a complimentary offering from MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM). For JTTM subscription information, click here.

On October 31, 2017, Sayfullo Saipov killed eight people and wounded 11 more with a truck in Lower Manhattan. It has been reported that after abandoning the vehicle, Saipov left a note in the truck saying that he carried out the attack in the name of the Islamic State (ISIS). The note apparently also read in Arabic: "Islamic State will endure forever."[1] Though as of this writing, ISIS has not yet claimed responsibility for the attack, an ISIS news outlet encouraged an attack on Halloween before the attack, and ISIS supporters celebrated the attack online after it had taken place.

ISIS Outlet Encourages Attacks On Halloween

Al-Nur Media, a French-language media outlet endorsed by ISIS, published a poster calling for terror attacks on Halloween celebrations earlier in the day on October 31. The poster, published in French, English, Dutch, and Russian, was distributed on official Telegram channels under ISIS hashtags, such as the "No Choice" hashtag, which was initially created as a mockery of a French government anti-radicalization initiative. The English poster reads: "Enjoy their rally, terrorize them, 31 October 2017. #NoChoice. Get started before it's too late." In the background of the image is the Eiffel tower and a hand holding a bloody machete.

NYC Resident Changes Facebook Picture To Manhattan Truck Attacker, Previously Posted Video Of Himself Driving In NYC

Shortly after the attack, a New York City resident and Facebook user changed his Facebook profile picture to an image of attacker Sayfullo Saipov. The image used had been captured by a bystander moments after Saipov killed eight people in a Manhattan bicycle lane. Three other Facebook users "liked" the profile image.

The same user also recently posted a video that appears to have been taken while he was driving in New York City. The video shows city streets though a car's windshield. Toward the end of the video, one can hear that he is listening to a jihadi nasheed in a Gulf dialect that endorses martyrdom. One line of the nasheed is: "We are the seekers of martyrdom."

JTTM subscribers can click here to view the full version of this report. For a full copy of the above-mentioned video, readers in government and media may send an email to [email protected] Please include your name, title, and organization in your email. For JTTM subscription information, click here.

ISIS Supporters Celebrate Manhattan Truck Attack

ISIS media activists and online supporters reacted with joy to the news of the October 31 truck attack in Lower Manhattan. As has been the case after previous terror attacks, supporters distributed posters celebrating the attack and vowing more to come and rejoiced that the attack was carried out in the "heart" of the country. Writing under hashtags such as #Manhattan, #NewYork, and #Halloween (in English or Arabic), many stressed that the attack was revenge for U.S. airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, for example on the former ISIS strongholds of Mosul and Raqqa, and hailed the attacker, Sayfullo Saipov, as a hero. In recent years, ISIS has repeatedly incited followers to use trucks as a method for carrying out individual attacks.[2]

The following is a sampling of the reactions:

A poster circulated on Telegram shows the school bus that was rammed by the attacker accompanied by a quote from a speech by slain ISIS leader Abu Muhammad Al-'Adnani urging ISIS followers in the West to carry out attacks in their countries of residence.

A photo of Saipov was shared with the message: "Well done, you gladdened us and avenged the defenseless Muslims. In the fortified heart of their country, you brought upon them the most horrible death in cups of colocynth [a bitter plant]."

A tweet reads: "Sayfullo Al-Uzbeki [the Uzbek], the perpetrator of the attack in #New York. An immigrant who got a Green Card. He wanted to celebrate Halloween in the Islamic way."

Some graphics and messages threatened the U.S. and the West. Among them, one graphic reads: "Justified terror – you are all in our sights." The slogan "justified terror" is used by ISIS to characterize its attacks in the West. It was first used in the organization's English-language magazine after the November 2015 attacks in Paris.

A fake CNN account was created on Twitter on the night of October 31, following the attack. One tweet from the account reads: "O, nation of cross in America we will continue to terrorize you and ruin your lives!"

A tweet from a different account reads: "We will not stop until you leave our land!! #Manhattan #NewYorkCity #WorldTradeCenter."

A tweet from a different account reads: "#Manhattan. Know, America, that what happened to the innocent children of Mosul and Raqqa will not be ignored. What's coming will be worse."

Several posts were published on a pro-ISIS Telegram channel celebrating the truck attack, reiterating ISIS's call to Muslims in the West to carry out attacks, and threatening further attacks, among other things. Below are examples from posts appearing on the Telegram channel.

The message below from the same channel reads: "Just terror 'Allah had ordered us to kill the unbelievers without specifying the methods for doing so. Allah did not order us to do this or not do that, and therefore, there is no objection to killing them in any way [possible], whether [by] shooting, stabbing, floods, demolishing buildings over them, or casting them from high [places]...'"


Caption (center): "Just terror avenges Mosul and Raqqa from America."

The message below from the same channel reads: "Allah Akbar... up until now, Crusader countries haven't invented a way for their people to defend or save [themselves] from jihadi attacks aside from a single thing – run. Oh cross-worshipping pigs, await the next attack and the one after it and the one after that. When you walk in the street, oh Crusader, put it in your head that this might be your last day, and when your children are in a night club or [attending an] obscene party, then remember that you will not see them again, only [in the form of] torn bodies as you tore the bodies of Mosul's and Raqqa's children."

One graphic circulated on a different Telegram channel reads: "O Worshippers Of The Cross In USA, Our lone wolves will come to you from where you do not know and we will terrorize you wherever you are and we will show you multitudes of terror and pain that you showed to the Muslims, and what is coming is more bitter and greater." The top of the graphic reads: "Manhattan."

Another graphic from the same channel features an image of President Trump clutching the American flag. The caption reads: "Oh Crusaders In The USA This Stupid Can't Protect You."

 

[1] Slate.com, November 1, 2017.

[2] See MEMRI JTTM report Months Of Prior Warnings Regarding Terror Attacks Using Trucks, December 20, 2016.