Islamist Forums Instruct How to Make and Use Explosives, Weapons and Poisons

Written by MEMRI


May 8, 2008
Memri Dispatch #435
By: D. Nagy *
Islamist Forums Teach Mujahideen in terrorist activities to carry out Jihad
Introduction (
complete 15 page PDF)
In recent years jihadist organizations have been using the Internet for purposes of indoctrination, propaganda, recruitment, and maintaining morale among the mujahideen. In addition, Internet forums provide venues not only for sharing views, but for exchanging information that serves the operative needs of the mujahideen, such as guidance in guerilla warfare techniques, and information on manufacturing and using explosives, weapons, and poisons.

Such information is often posted in special Al-'Udda Wal-I'dad (Equipment and Preparation) [1] sections of numerous jihadist forums, including Shabakat Al-Firdaws Al-Jihadiyya (www.al-firdaws.org ), [2] Shabakat Al-Ma'arik Al-Salafiyya (www.m3ark.com ), [3] Shabakat Al-Mujahideen Al-Elektroniyya (www.majahden.com ), [4] Shabakat Shumoukh Al-Islam (www.shmo5alislam.net ), [5] Minbar Al-Battar Al-I'lami (www.albatar.1talk.net ), [6] Mawqi' Al-Muhajir Al-Islami (www.asia.geocities.com/mohajerlb ), [7] and others. [8]

In addition to postings dealing with weapons and warfare, Al-'Udda Wal-'Idad sections also include messages on a wide range of other topics relevant to terrorist activity, from forging documents to techniques for withstanding interrogation. Most of the material is translated into Arabic from non-Arabic sources It should be noted that Islamist sites without an Al-'Udda Wal-I'dad section also present military information of this type, on other sections of their sites.

The following message, posted on Al-Firdaws by a member calling himself Al-Battar, shows the importance forum members attribute to the content on the Al-'Udda Wal-I'dad sections: "...Looking through several threads on this forum and on others, I discovered that the young [members] write about various topics without knowing anything [about them]... [So] it is your sacred duty to convey [information about] them to our brothers the mujahideen...

"[The Koran says:] 'And prepare against them what force you can and horses harnessed for battle, to strike terror into [the hearts of] the enemies of Allah and your enemies and others besides them, whom you do not know (but) Allah knows them [Koran 8:60].'

"Allah's Messenger, peace and prayers be upon him, interpreted the word 'force' in this verse to mean 'shooting'... So 'force' refers to shooting (arrows, catapults, guns, pistols, cannon, or rockets of various types). Of all these weapons, we [should] use the ones that inspire the most fear, as mentioned in the verse. In other words, if today there are advanced weapons, which cause more damage [than the weapons of the Prophet's day], we [must] be prepared to obtain and [use] them, even if the only way to obtain them is to learn how to make them [ourselves]...

"Therefore, we must attain [the technological level] that the West has attained, and not [by starting from the point] where the West began [i.e. from a pre-technological level] -...because that would be a waste of time, money, and effort... Let no one say that [the West] has many abilities that we lack... [Only] the lazy and the weak [among us] expect the resources to be handed to them on a silver platter..." [9]

The Topics Discussed on Al-'Udda Wal-I'dad Sections

A review of 50 messages on the Al-'Udda Wal-I'dad section of the Shabakat Al-Mujahideen Al-Elektroniyya forum (www.majahden.com ) indicated that 17 postings (34%) dealt with the manufacture of rockets, bombs, mines, and mortars; five postings (10%) contained instructions for using small arms such as assault rifles, sniper guns, and handguns; and three postings (6%) dealt with survival skills and with battle tactics and strategy. The remaining 25 messages (50%) contained links to online encyclopedias of weapons and warfare, and addressed a wide range of subjects, from poisons to secure communication techniques and information on the armies of Western countries.

To gauge the popularity of the various topics among the forum users, MEMRI monitored 50 postings on the Al-'Udda Wal-I'dad section of the Shabakat Al-Firdaws Al-Jihadiyya forum. We found that messages concerned with the construction of homemade rockets, bombs, mines, and mortars, and with the use of such weapons manufactured in the West, were viewed 3,750 times (66% of the viewings); postings dealing with small arms usage were viewed 397 times (7%); and postings on strategy, tactics, and survival were viewed 334 times (6%). A single posting dealing with WMDs was viewed 56 times (1%). The remaining messages, dealing with a wide range of topics and containing links to online weapons encyclopedias, were viewed 1,125 times (20%).

A crucial point is that the Al-'Udda Wal-I'dad sections are not merely archives of content on military topics, but are used as a virtual meeting place where the jihad fighters exchange information and obtain advice that is relevant to their ongoing terrorist activities.

Following are excerpts from discussions on Al-'Udda Wal-I'dad sections, organized by topic.

A. Information on Mines, Bombs and Explosives:

Due to the difficulty of obtaining and transporting standard explosives, especially in the West, the forums deal extensively with the manufacture of homemade bombs. For example, in early February 2008, members of the Islamist Al-Ma'arik forum held a week-long discussion on manufacturing homemade explosives. The thread started with a posting by a member named Mahmoud Al-Na'imi, who asked another member, Abu Ahmad Al-Anbari, about making liquid explosives. Following are excerpts from the thread: [10]

Mahmoud Al-Na'imi: "I prepared the nitronaphthalene as described in 'Abdullah Dhou Al-Bajadin's encyclopedia [of weapons]... I added the sulfuric [acid] and nitric [acid]... I placed [the mixture] in an ice bath to prevent the temperature from rising, and kept it at under 30 degrees. Then I waited three hours to add the rest of the naphthalene, and this is what happened: One or two hours later, the chemical reaction began to make noise... After two hours the noise became louder... and after three hours [the mixture] began to seethe in an alarming way, so I immediately poured water on it and the experiment failed... I would like you to tell me what went wrong..."

Abu Ahmad Al-Anbari: "...Dear brother, about the nitronaphthalene, you must let the [chemical] reaction take place... In your mixture the reaction was too strong because the heat caused it to pass this stage... Try to place it in the ice bath for longer than three hours..."

Mahmoud Al-Na'imi: "My dear brother Abu Ahmad, the experiment with the urea nitrate went well. There was a very loud explosion. I videotaped it... I will keep you posted on the nitronaphthalene..."

Hamdan Al-Salafi: "Brother Mahmoud, tell us how you did the experiment with the urea nitrate..."

Mahmoud Al-Na'imi: "My dear brother, first I prepared the urea nitrate..., washed it with ice water, distilled it, and dried it in the sun. I also prepared a detonator using acetone peroxide. I [used] a small container, about the size of a tomato-paste can. I detonated it next to a tree trunk using a length of wire, and part of the tree trunk was blown away."

Abu Hamdan Al-Salafi: "Brother, if you want to use urea nitrate in a bombing, [know that] it will take 10 kilos and [even] more to destroy a Hummer... Our brothers in Palestine used 50 kilos of urea nitrate to destroy a Zionist Merkava [tank]... And don't forget... the mujahid Ramzi Yousef... [who is now] in prison... used between 600 kilos and one ton of urea nitrate to blow up the basement of the World Trade Center..."

Another discussion on manufacturing homemade bombs took place on the Ma'arik forum in January 2008. [11] The thread began with a posting by Abu Sayyaf Al-Ansari describing how to make an explosive charge using readily available materials:

Abu Sayyaf Al-Ansari: "Here you will learn how to make a destructive Afghan [explosive] charge...

"Name of the charge or mine: 'Afghan Charge'
"Explosive power: [The charge is capable of blowing up]
"1. Two Russian tanks
"2. A convoy of military jeeps
"3. Very powerful against infantry troops for it [blows them up] into body parts.

"Necessary chemicals and equipment:
"1. A container [to hold the explosives]. We will use a pressure cooker.
"2. The explosive mixture itself… is a mixture of liquids consisting of:
"A. One part used motor oil from a car (the oil must be used).
"B. Two parts gasoline (from the gas station).
"3. A detonator or fuse...

"Method of preparation:
"1. Open the pressure cooker and fill it a third of the way with used motor oil.
"2. Fill the rest of the cooker with gasoline.
"3. Before closing the cooker, make a hole in the lid the size of the detonator or fuse.
"4. Install the detonator or fuse in the hole...
"5. Put the lid on the cooker...
"6. Connect the detonator using an electric wire or a mobile phone...
"7. It is best to paint the device in military colors or black..."

Al-Muhajir: "Here is a simpler way to prepare a charge... using materials available at home... [such as] soap, small bits of metal like nails, screws, etc., gasoline, an empty 15-litre paint can... and a detonator...

"First, melt the soap... The more you have the better. When the soap is soft, mix it with the gasoline... Then add the detonator..."

Abu Zainab: "...Brother Al-Muhajir... please... [I would like] some explanations. First, can I use any kind of soap, for instance facial soap or laundry soap? And please tell me how much [I need] - how many bars or how many kilos. Second, what do you mean by 'place the detonator in the center'...? Can you please give a detailed explanation how to make a detonator that is set off by a mobile phone?..."

Abu Mus'ab Al-Masri: "Brother, the problem with this detonator is that we do not know how to make it."

Abu Zainab: "...Is it possible to make a detonator without using mercury? Because this chemical is very hard to get hold of..."

Abu Hamdan Al-Salafi: "Brother, you can make [a detonator] without mercury, [using] a chemical called acetone peroxide..."

Abu Ahmad Al-Anbari: "...About the mercury, you can find some in any thermometer... or blood pressure [monitor]..."

                              Preparation of Homemade Explosives in the Field [12]  


Preparation of Homemade Explosives [13]

In May 2005, members of the Ma'arik forum discussed the manufacture of acetone peroxide bombs. [14] On May 25, a member named 'Akasha Al-Yamani posted a message explaining how to make such a bomb. The next day, a forum member asked: "Brother, if we use hydrogen peroxide [at a concentration of] 9%, [along with] commercial acetone, distilled water, and citrate or lemon juice, will the experiment still work? And another question: How do I store the detonators?"

'Akasha Al-Yamani promptly replied: "I prepared [acetone peroxide] at a concentration of 9%, and it worked. As for the detonators, if you know something about chemicals, then - Allah willing - storage should be easy for you. First of all, acetone peroxide is very volatile, so do not keep it in storage for more than three months. The other [chemicals] should be kept in boxes filled with sawdust. Do not expose them to sunlight, and check on them from time to time." Other members then joined the discussion, asking where to obtain the materials and how to store them. [15]

B. Information on Using Small Arms

Among the materials posted on the Al-'Udda Wal-I'dad sections are manuals for the use of small arms such as assault rifles, sniper guns and handguns, most of them translated from non-Arabic sources. On October 28, 2007, for example, a member on the Al-Firdaws forum posted a link to an Arabic translation of The Ultimate Sniper, a comprehensive guide for snipers by American writer Maj. John L. Plaster, USAR (ret). [16] A November 21, 2007 posting on the Shabakat Al-Mujahideen Al-Elektroniyya forum included a link to an Arabic translation of a manual for using the Beretta 92 semi-automatic pistol. [17] Since the small arms used by the mujahideen are generally standard, these weapons - unlike bombs and explosives - are not usually the subject of extensive discussions among forum members. [18]


C. Survival Skills; Battle Tactics and Strategy

Postings on Al-'Udda Wal-I'dad sections also deal with survival skills and with tactics of combat in enemy territory, including such topics as navigating with a watch, [19] escaping from handcuffs, [20] setting ambushes, [21] abductions, [22] attacking strategic targets, [23] withstanding interrogation, [24] and forging documents.

For example, in a July 2, 2006 posting, a member named Al-Assad Al-Shami asked for information about forging a passport. [25] The next day, a member named Abu 'Abd Al-Halim replied:"[To forge a passport] you need a razor, an iron, a [set of] plastic letters sold by printers, and a special ruler used by printers, which can be purchased at an office equipment store."

When Al-Assad Al-Shami asked for additional details, Abu 'Abd Al-Halim replied: "Remove the plastic coating from the photo [using] a steam iron, and then remove the photo [using] the razor... and the rest is easy."

A few hours later, a forum member called Khaled bin Al-Walid asked for a more detailed explanation. Abu Abd Al-Halim wrote: "To remove the photo, put a piece of cloth over the plastic coating and then run the iron over it... Is that clear? Tomorrow I will give you the rest [of the instructions], Allah willing." Later on, Abu Abd Al-Halim asked Al-Assad Al-Shami what sort of passport he needed, and offered to help him with the project. [26]

D. Weapons of Mass Destruction

Weapons of mass destruction are not frequently discussed on Al-'Udda Wal-I'dad sections. For example, out of 148 messages posted on this section of the Ma'arik forum between August 2007 and March 2008, only two dealt with WMDs. Though forum members tend to be skeptical about manufacturing and/or using WMDs, some do express a keen interest in this subject. Interestingly, messages that discuss this topic generally suggest making these weapons rather than obtaining them in other ways (e.g., by stealing them).

The following discussion, for example, took place in February 2008 on Ma'arik. Forum member Abu Ahmad Al-Anbari posted a message proposing ways to manufacture anthrax. [27] Two hours later, a member called Bin Laden Gaza replied: "With [all due] respect to the brothers, I do not recommend that you try [to prepare anthrax], because it is dangerous... There are many other ways to wage jihad..."

Abu Ahmad Al-Anbari responded: "...We need every [possible] means of terrorizing the enemy, especially [since] bacterial [weapons] are so rare. If we say 'this is difficult' and 'that is dangerous,' we will never make any progress..."

A member named "Sniper" remarked: "I [agree] with what brother 'bin Laden' wrote. We do not want a double tragedy - the tragedy of the occupation plus the tragedy of [our own] mistakes that can end up killing us... If there is no choice but to prepare and use [anthrax], then let experienced and knowledgeable [experts] handle it..."

Another discussion on WMDs was launched on December 27, 2007 by a member called Abu Hafs Al-Masri, who raised the possibility of building a nuclear weapon. In a message titled "The Muslim Nuclear Bomb," he outlined the history of the nuclear bomb and the method of its construction. [28] Two days later, a member named Abu Mus'ab Al-Masri remarked: "This business [of making nuclear bombs] is too big for us," to which Abu Mus'ab Al-Masri replied: "Nothing is too difficult for the Muslims..." Abu Mus'ab Al-Masri insisted: "But my dear brother, it requires huge amounts of unavailable materials." A member called Qalb Osama agreed with Abu Hafs Al-Masri, saying: "...Those who blew up towers in the heart of the U.S... and who have humiliated the U.S. in Afghanistan and Iraq, are capable of doing more..." [29]

                                 Image attached to Abu Ahmad Al-Anbari's posting [30] 


                                           From Abu Hafs Al-Masri's posting. [31] 


E. Poison

Lastly, the Al-'Udda Wal-I'dad sections also contain information on preparing various poisons from readily available materials. For example, on January 5, 2008, a member on the Al-Firdaws forum suggested to mixing cyanide into face cream and then trying the mixture on a rabbit. [32] Another member asked whether any type of cream would be suitable, and a third supplied detailed instructions:

"...Go to stores that sell poison and ask for cyanide. It is very cheap. Then go to the supermarket and look for moisturizing cream. Make sure it's the kind of cream that opens up the pores of the skin quickly and efficiently. When you have both [ingredients], do the following:

"1. Take a small spoonful of cyanide.
"2. Take some cream and mix it with the cyanide.

"Be careful! Cyanide is very strong and acts very quickly... [At that point] you might ask yourself: 'Can these two components [i.e. the cream and the cyanide] kill a man?' I tell you, brother, [in order to find out] you need a rabbit, because a rabbit's blood pressure is similar to that of a human being... Using scissors, shave some of the rabbit's fur to expose its skin, and then apply some of the cyanide cream you prepared. Wait 3-5 seconds. If [the rabbit] does not die, your poison is not [strong] enough, since it does not act rapidly enough. Gradually add poison to the mixture until you obtain the desired effect. Make sure to get two or three rabbits, and do not consider [using] a different animal, since, as I already said, rabbits have a blood pressure similar to that of humans.

"3. How to expose one of Allah's enemies to the poison:

"Place the poison in a small bottle and lie in wait for a vehicle [driven by] enemies of Allah, preferably by Americans. Put some poison on the vehicle door, and especially... on the handle. Don't do this casually, but in a professional manner, [using] cotton wool and protecting your hands with gloves... Put poison on the inside and outside [of the door handle], so that as much poison as possible gets on the fingers of the enemy of Allah." [33]

From an encyclopedia of poisons posted on the forum Mawqi' Al-Muhajir Al-Islami. [34]

*D. Nagy is a research fellow at MEMRI.

**Some of the links may no longer be active at the time of publication. MEMRI possesses a hard copy of the websites, which is available upon request.
Source: Memri

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