AQAP Claims Responsibility For Naval Air Station Pensacola Shooting Attack And Urges Muslims In The West To Execute More Attacks, Target Heads Of State, Carry Out Cyberattacks On Banks
February 03, 2020
On February 3, 2020, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) released a new video titled "Satisfy the Breasts of a Believing People Blessing and Declaration of Responsibility for the Attack on the U.S. Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida." The video features a message read by the organization's leader, Qassem Al-Rimi, claiming responsibility for the December 6, 2019, attack on the U.S. Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida, in which three U.S. Navy sailors were killed. AQAP did not relate to reports in the U.S. media that Al-Rimi was killed in a U.S. drone strike in recent days.
The video hints that Mohammed Saeed Al- Shamrani, the 21-year-old second lieutenant in the Royal Saudi Air Force and student naval flight officer who opened fire on the U.S. Navy sailors, was in contact for some time with AQAP, but does not provide concrete evidence proving that he was recruited by the organization. It includes many images of Al-Shamrani and his posts online, which were previously shared on the internet.
In the video, Al-Rimi urges Muslims living in the U.S. and in the West to emulate the actions of Al-Qaeda-inspired terrorists and carry out attacks, especially in the U.S. He proposes targets such as the U.S. president and former presidents, senior U.S. politicians and military officials, corporate executives and businessmen, and suggests perpetrating cyberattacks against American banks.
The video was distributed online by AQAP on Al-Qaeda's platform on Rocket.Chat, where it provides numerous links to web hosting sites such as Amazon Drive, Dropbox, and others.
The following are excerpts from Al-Rimi's message, based on an English translation provided by AQAP, and lightly edited for clarity:
Al-Rimi begins by declaring: "We express our praise and blessings to the Muslim nation and declare our full responsibility for the martyrdom-seeking operation of hero, the courageous knight, Muhammad bin Saeed Al-Shamrani, may Allah have mercy on him... Al-Shamrani carried out his martyrdom-seeking operation on one of the dens of evil and unbelief which wages war on Allah, His Messenger and the believers, the U.S. Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida..."
Al-Rimi: "For Years, Our Hero Was Hiding His Intention In His Heart"
Al-Rimi hints that AQAP had been in touch with Al-Shamrani for several years, tracking his movements: "Our hero moved between several U.S. military bases in America, to select and contemplate his best and fattest target..." AQAP displays excerpts from correspondence Al-Shamrani allegedly conducted with it, in which he describes the training program in which he was enrolled. Al-Rimi continues: "For years, our hero was hiding his intention in his heart, till Allah the Almighty granted him success. He let America, the enemy of Allah, drink from the same bitter cup which it makes the Muslims drink from every day... This attack is nothing in comparison with the brutal actions that America, the enemy of Allah, carries out against our Muslim nation, but it is clear evidence of the resolve of our nation and its ability to reach its goal... So wait, o Americans, indeed, we along with you, are waiting. O Americans: We Muslims, have nothing to lose..." Al-Rimi details a list of Muslim grievances against the U.S., such as forcing them to abide by secular laws, undermining their security, and occupying their countries.
He continues to rail against the U.S. and boasts that the NAS Pensacola attack caused many casualties: "O nation of Islam, America is now reaping a little bit of what it has been sowing, and with Allah's permission it will pay the full price of its crimes, no matter the cost. At a time when America had not yet comprehended what happened to it, it was attacked by surprise in its own territory, in a military airbase by a hero from the Arabian Peninsula, killing a number of senior officers and deputies, seriously injuring others, and thousands fled caring about nothing."
The video then shows images from Al-Shamrani's Twitter account in which he lashed out at the U.S. Al-Rimi declares that Al-Shamrani delivered a message to the Americans similar to that of previous Al-Qaeda attackers: "O Americans, you will never dream to live in peace, as long as you are undermining the peace of the Muslims."
Al-Rimi Calls For More Attacks On Americans: "Target The Americans In Their Own Land... May Your Chief Concern Be America"
Al-Rimi addresses potential terrorists, referring specifically to Muslims living in the U.S.: "So, o you heroes, aim your arrows toward those who constantly aim their arrows toward the necks of the Muslims. Target the Americans in their own land, lie in wait for them in every place of ambush, and may your chief concern be America. Each one of you should say, 'woe is me if America is safe.' O jealous Muslim living in the state of unbelief and libertinism America; o exchange student over there; o student; o journalist; o doctor; o engineer; o merchant; o worker; o Arab and non-Arab Muslim; o American Muslim, o British Muslim, o French Muslim, o Spanish Muslim, o Pakistani and Indian Muslim, and all Muslim ethnicities out there. We are all Muslims, and defending our religion and our Muslim brothers is a religious duty upon all of us. It is not restricted only to jihad organizations or centers of da'wa [preaching]. It is a duty incumbent upon all of us individually..."
Mentioning the alleged plight of Muslim women and their urgings to Muslim men to perpetrate attacks in their defense, he says: "The minimum duty upon every Muslim is to meet the call of those virtuous sisters with his blood, and not merely with talk. Therefore, whoever has a truck should use it to heal the breasts of a believing people. Whoever has a gun should use it to heal the breasts of a believing people. Whoever has explosives should use them to heal the breasts of a believing people. Whoever has knowledge in conducting cyberattacks against banks, he can use it to heal the breasts of a believing people. Whoever can target business people, and the executives of the biggest American companies, who are the heads of the scourge – he should do so and heal the breasts of a believing people. Whoever can strike the leading politicians, senior security officers, senior military personnel, and the current and former U.S. presidents – should do so and heal the breasts of a believing people..." Al-Rimi advises those who do not know how to carry out an attack to read the tips included in AQAP's Inspire magazine. He reiterates the religious value of carrying out individual jihad attacks, and reminds Muslims in the West of Osama bin Laden's words: "Do not consult anyone with regard to the killing of Americans."