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memri
February 24, 2017 No.
523

Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM) Weekend Summary

The following are some of this week's reports from the MEMRI Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM) Project, which translates and analyzes content from sources monitored around the clock, among them the most important jihadi websites and blogs. (To view these reports in full, you must be a paying member of the JTTM; for membership information, send an email to [email protected] with "Membership" in the subject line.)

Note to media and government: For a full copy of these reports, send an email with the title of the report in the subject line to [email protected]. Please include your name, title, and organization in your email.

 

EXCLUSIVE: Al-Qaeda Leader Al-Zawahiri Commemorates Veteran Jihadi Sheikh Rifai Taha, Urges Mujahideen To Attack Interests Of U.S., Jews, 'Crusaders' Coalition – Part II In Video Series

On February 18, 2017, Al-Sahab, the Al-Qaeda media arm, released Part II of a commemorative video series featuring the group's leader, Ayman Al-Zawahiri. In this installment, Al-Zawahiri eulogized veteran jihadi Sheikh Rifai Taha, who was killed in an airstrike in Syria in 2016, and called on the mujahideen to attack interests belonging to the U.S, the Jews, and the "Crusaders" " coalition as well as senior officers in the military, security and intelligence agencies and journalists and judges.

 

EXCLUSIVE: ISIS Salah Al-Din Province Video Mourns Death Of Top ISIS Media Figure, Reveals Extent Of Group's Use Of Drones In Media Operations

On February 21, 2017, the Islamic State (ISIS) Salah Al-Din Province in Iraq released a video documenting the life and death of Abu Mariyah Al-Iraqi aka Abbas Mezher aka Abbas Al-Rifa'i – a prominent ISIS media operative who had a leading role in the group's media operations and training across Iraq. Al-Iraqi was killed at the age of 27 in a U.S. drone strike.

 

EXCLUSIVE: ISIS Supporter From Tennessee Whose Husband Is Being Held By Jordanian Authorities Active On Facebook, Twitter

A Tennessee woman on Facebook and on Twitter is a supporter of the Islamic State (ISIS).

 

EXCLUSIVE: ISIS Fighter On Snapchat Directs Readers To Fundraising Campaign On Telegram To Purchase Thermal Vision Monocular Device Costing $8000

On February 22, 2017, a jihadi Snapchat account, posted a video featuring an ISIS fighter urging Muslims to raise $8000 for purchasing a thermal vision monocular device. The account provided details to make, "a secured [method] of donation and communication."

 

EXCLUSIVE: ISIS Supporter Creates Animated ISIS Videos, Scenes From Terror Attacks Using Video Game Grand Theft Auto V

On November 18, 2016, an English-speaking ISIS supporter created a closed Telegram channel dedicated to distributing YouTube links to his machinima video clips, created from off-the-shelf real-time 3D engines generally from popular video games, in this case the well-known franchise Grand Theft Auto V.

 

EXCLUSIVE: Khalid Bin Al-Walid Army, Associated With ISIS, Recently Captured Territory And Towns In The Yarmouk Basin Held By Syrian Opposition Groups In The Golan Heights

In recent days, the ISIS news agency A'maq published several stories on territory and towns that were captured by the Khalid bin Al-Walid Army in the Yarmouk Basin area in the southern Golan Heights.

 

EXCLUSIVE: Pro-ISIS Media Group Al-Wafa' Publishes Article Of Instructions, Recommendations For Excavating Tunnels

Photo showing "pyramid" method of tunnel construction, with columns leaning inward supporting an upper beam

On February 17, 2017, the pro-Islamic State (ISIS) Al-Wafa' media agency, which publishes mostly written articles, published an article by one Abu Al-Walid Al-Lubnani titled "Excavating Tunnels." The article, which was disseminated on the agency's Telegram channel, provides instructions and recommendations for excavating tunnels, primarily tunnels close to the surface. Al-Wafa's publication of this article is an indication of ISIS's increasing use of tunnels for attacks, transporting equipment and fighters, and other purposes. It is notable that the author, who according to his nom de guerre is Lebanese, has expertise and experience in tunnel excavation.

 

EXCLUSIVE: ISIS Media Distribution Telegram Channel Uses Name Of Well-Known Netherlands DJ's Radio Show

On February 18, 2017 a new Telegram channel using the name of a well-known Netherlands DJ's show was created for distributing links to firsthand Islamic State (ISIS) channels.

 

Responses In Jihadi And Other Circles To Death Of 'Blind Sheikh' 'Omar 'Abd Al-Rahman

Egyptian cleric Omar 'Abd Al-Rahman, known as "the Blind Sheikh," who is considered to be one of the founders of global jihad and was convicted of conspiracy in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, died February 18, 2017 in a North Carolina prison. His death sparked a wave of reactions from jihadists online. Al-Qaeda reposted the sheikh's last testament, originally published over a decade ago, in which he complained of his mistreatment in prison and called upon his supporters to attack the U.S. in the case of his death. Jihadists, including supporters of both Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIS), expressed their grief over his death while cursing the U.S. for imprisoning him and praying for its destruction. Many of them quoted his last testament, especially his calls to avenge his death; others shared quotations from his writings and lectures, and extoled him for blazing a path for contemporary jihad by proclaiming the rulers of Arab states to be apostates and calling to fight the enemies of Islam.

Responses to 'Abd Al-Rahman's death were also heard in non-jihadi circles. Statements expressing sorrow over it were issued by the Al-Gama'a Al-Islamiyya movement, which he once led, and by some branches of the Muslim Brotherhood. His family members claimed, both shortly before his death and after it, that the treatment he received in prison grew worse after Donald Trump became president and that he had been denied medication in order to cause his death.

 

Al-Shabab Al-Mujahideen Issues Statement Eulogizing 'Blind Sheikh' 'Omar 'Abd Al-Rahman

On February 22, 2017, the leadership of Somali Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Shabab Al-Mujahideen issued a statement in which it extended its condolences to the Islamic ummah for the death of 'Omar 'Abd Al-Rahman. It called upon all Muslim scholars to follow his example and the example of renowned Islamic scholars such as Ibn Taymiyya who stood up and fought the infidels. The statement also mentioned the February 7 U.S. raid on Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Qifa, Yemen, conveying condolences to AQAP leader Qassem Al-Rimi and to the families of his fighters who were killed and promising that the U.S. will eventually be defeated.

 

Al-Qaeda Urges Muslim Youths To Kill Americans And Destroy U.S. Interests To Avenge Death Of 'Blind Sheikh' Omar 'Abd Al-Rahman

On February 21, 2017, Al-Sahab, the media arm of Al-Qaeda Central, released a statement urging Muslim youths to terrorize and kill Americans and destroy their interests everywhere, to avenge the death of Sheikh Omar Abd Al-Rahman, aka the Blind Sheikh, who died in a U.S prison hospital on February 18, 2017. The sheikh was serving a life sentence for his involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center attack.

 

AQIM, AQAP Urge Muslims To Avenge Death Of 'Blind Sheikh' 'Omar 'Abd Al-Rahman

On February 19, 2017, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) published a joint obituary for the 'Blind Sheikh,' 'Omar 'Abd Al-Rahman, who died on February 18, 2017 in a U.S. prison. The two groups extended condolences to all Muslims for his death, extolling him as an eminent scholar and leader of jihad and an example for all Muslims to follow.

 

In New Video, ISIS Threatens To Increase Attacks On Copts

On February 19, 2017, the Islamic State (ISIS) in Egypt released a film titled "And Fight the Disbelievers Collectively" [Koran 9:36], which incites against Egypt's Copts. The film's main message is that the Copts' life is forfeit and that future attacks on them will be even worse than those carried out in the past. It also includes excerpts from the final statement of Abu 'Abdallah Al-Masri, perpetrator of the deadly church bombing in Cairo on December 11, 2016, who promises that ISIS will conquer Egypt's capital.

 

ISIS Posts Image Of British Former Gitmo Prisoner Who Carried Out Martyrdom Operation Near Mosul

On February 20, 2017, the Islamic State (ISIS) Ninawa province published a photo of Abu Zakariyya Al-Britani, who carried out a martyrdom operation near Mosul.

 

French ISIS Fighter Captured In Al-Bab By Forces Taking Part In 'Operation Euphrates Shield'

On February 15, 2017, a Twitter account reporting in French and Turkish about the Syrian conflict stated that a French Islamic State (ISIS) fighter named Jonathan Geffroy aka Abu Ibrahim Al-Faransi was captured alive by forces taking part in Operation Euphrates Shield in Al-Bab, Syria. The battle for the town of Al-Bab is ongoing.

 

Australian ISIS Supporter Raided By Authorities Was Active On Facebook, Instagram, And Telegram

An Islamic State (ISIS) supporter was reportedly raided by Australian authorities on February 16, 2017.

 

Richmond, Virginia Man In Pro-ISIS Clique On Facebook, Displays Weapons

The following information is based on a general overview of a social media account demonstrating terror-related activity / sympathies.

 

Jihadi Social Media - Account Review (JSM-AR): French-Speaking ISIS Supporter Urges 'Go Forth To Fight'

The following information is based on a general overview of a social media account showing terror-related activity/sympathies.

 

Jihadi Social Media – Account Review (JSM-AR): Depressed Radicalized Female Jihad Supporter In France

The following information is based on a general overview of a social media account demonstrating terror-related activity/sympathies.

Platform: Twitter

Type of account: ISIS Supporter

Statistics: 2508 tweets since February 2013; 346 Followers.

 

English-Language Website Presents Itself As Islamic Resource – But Offers Archive Of Al-Qaeda Publications

An English-language website, that presents itself as an archive of Islamic resources and texts actually contains 396 PDFs of Al-Qaeda publications, and texts by pro-Al-Qaeda sources.

 

Al-Qaeda-Affiliated Telegram Group Announces Death Of South African Fighter

On February 17, 2017, the pro-Al-Qaeda Telegram channel posted a photo of a South African fighter killed in battle. The post reads, "Abu Dujana from South Africa who was martyred while fighting khawarij of Liwa Al Aqsa. May Allah Accept him. Ameen."

 

Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP) Confirms Death Of Second French Fighter

On February 17, 2017 a Twitter account affiliated with the Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP) reported that a French fighter had been killed while fighting in with the group. This report also confirms the fact that a group of Al-Qaeda-aligned French Fighters in Syria known as Firqat Al-Ghuraba ("Foreigners Division") has been fighting for the TIP for over a year.

 

Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP) Publishes Photos Of Uighur Fighters And Children In Syria

On February 21, 2017, the Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP)'s media center in Syria, the Voice of Islam, circulated a new 12:35 minute video, which includes an album of "rare pictures" of its fighters in Syria. The photos show fighters who were killed in action; TIP fighters in combat; TIP fighters undergoing military training and so on. There are also photos showing Uighur fighters' children and their military-style education and daily routine.

 

Article By AQIM Official: The French Occupation Of Azawad – A Dead End

Issue 40 of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated weekly Al-Masra, published February 19, 2017, featured an article by the head of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb's (AQIM) political committee, Abu Abd al-Ilah Ahmad. The article, titled "The French Occupation of Azawad – The Dead End," posits that despite its direct military intervention in the Azawad region (northern Mali), which was supported by the UN, Europe, the U.S., and the regional African governments, France has not achieved its declared goals of eradicating terrorism and securing the uranium mines.

 

Yemeni ISIS Supporter Spreading Islamic State Content Using Multiple Instagram Accounts

An Islamic State (ISIS) supporter running multiple Instagram accounts is disseminating ISIS content under numerous aliases.

 

Pro-ISIS Telegram Channel Shares Instructions On Use Of TweetDeck To Aid ISIS Supporters Twitter Activity

On February 22, 2017, the pro-Islamic State (ISIS) Telegram channel shared a Justpaste.it document explaining the use of TweetDeck – a platform enabling the management of multiple Twitter accounts simultaneously, in order to assist them in tweeting pro-ISIS content. The step-by-step guideline included instructions on adding multiple Twitter accounts to the service.

 

Article In ISIS Weekly Newspaper Sees Conquest Of Iran As Vital To Destroying Its Regional Influence, Urges Its Fighters To Target 'Leaders of Polytheism'

The February 23, 2017 issue of the Islamic State (ISIS) weekly newspaper Al-Naba', included an article arguing that conquering Iran and destroying it are essential steps to ending Shi'ism and destroying Iran's influence in the region.