December 22, 2017 Special Dispatch No. 7244

Warning – Graphic: ISIS Supporters Step Up Threats Against West, Warnings Of Attacks Over Christmas, New Year

December 22, 2017
Special Dispatch No. 7244

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

In the run-up to Christmas and New Year's, Islamic State (ISIS) supporters have been stepping up threats against the West. These threats are generally issued in the form of graphic posters shared and circulated by ISIS supporters on social media, primarily on the encrypted messaging app Telegram.

These holiday threats, which are part of a recent broader escalation of threats by the group's supporters, have been against New York City, Washington D.C., Rome, Paris, and other locations, and have included calls to Muslims in the West to carry out attacks.[1]

Posters in general have become another weapon in ISIS's arsenal of propaganda and incitement; these holiday threat posters are typically accompanied by Arabic hashtags such as #Design, #New_Design, and #Soon_On_Your_Holidays. Many of them are forwarded repeatedly on the numerous pro-ISIS Telegram accounts, including on channels and groups, as well as by individuals. Some of these accounts are private, that is, have no direct URL, while others become inaccessible after a poster is published, for a number of reasons.

The following are recently published posters threatening holiday attacks:

Threat to Paris, captioned "Soon on your holidays"

Beheaded Santa Claus, with caption: "The Khilafa's Presents Are on Their Way"

Threat to Christians. Arabic caption reads: "We promised we would make your holidays hell, so have a taste..." The poster was circulated after the deadly December 17 ISIS attack on a church in Quetta, Pakistan

A general call to rise up against the kuffar (unbelievers)

Christmas threat, showing weapons for attacks and "deadly points in the human body"

General threat to West: A jihad fighter looks toward the skyline of a Western city. Text reads: "Horror after horror and war after war on the enemies of God"

Threat to New Year's celebrations

"We meet at Christmas in New York" (sic; the poster shows the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.)

Christmas threat. Arabic reads: "Soon on your holidays, the news is what you [will] see and not what you [will] hear"

Poster showing a Christmas market with cement barriers to prevent car-ramming attacks. Text reads: "If you put barriers to cars in front of markets, you will not prevent people from entering them on foot"

Threat to Rome showing a stabbing victim in front of the Coliseum. Text reads: "Very soon.. We will be on your Roma victorious conquerors!"

Poster showing death and destruction in Western city

Threat to the Vatican and Italy. Text at bottom reads: "The date is approaching o worshipers of the Cross"

Threat to U.S. Text reads: "We will send war and destruction to your country. These are the results of Bush, Obama and now Trump through their war on Islam … for the American People"

Threat to Paris. Text reads: "Will the police protect you from the wolves of the Islamic state?"

Poster showing Vienna's Kohlmarkt street,with text: "Soon on your holidays"

Threat to Amsterdam. The date at the bottom hints at New Year's; the text "flames of war" alludes to an ISIS video which promises to bring the flames of war to the lands of ISIS's enemies

Threat to New York. Text read: "We meet at Christmas in New York... soon"

Threat to London, with text: "Soon on your holidays" in English, French and German

Threat to Europe with text "Soon in your holidays" in English, French and German  

Threat to the Vatican. Text reads: "O Tawhid brothers, O Caliphate's lone wolves, the crusaders' feast is approaching [...] Prepare and plan to show them the meaning of terrorism. Kill them and do not hold back"

Poster showing U.S. Congress. English text reads: "Wait for Islamic State Soldiers" Arabic text adds: "in the heart of their homeland"

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