Jihadi Chatter Online, Social Media Using Ebola Weapon Against The U.S. And The West

Following the outbreak of the Ebola virus, some jihadis online have referred to and discussed the possibility and ease of using Ebola, as well as poisons, as a weapon against the U.S. and the West.

It should be stressed that these references and discussions are all online chatter, including on social media, and do not constitute actual plans by terror organizations.  

The following are examples of these references and discussions:

Jihadi Media Platform Member: Use Ebola Against U.S. And Against Countries That Joined Anti-ISIS Coalition

On September 16, 2014, “Mata Al-Sa’a,” a member of the Jihadi Media Platform forum (alplatformmedia.com), suggested that the Islamic State (ISIS) use the Ebola virus against the U.S., as well as against countries that had joined its anti-ISIS coalition. “[The] process of transporting diseases is not hard,” Mata Al-Sa’a said. “It is enough to carry a Pepsi bottle in your briefcase, and transport it from Africa to America. [Once there,] you open the bottle in one of the air ducts, or place it at the tip of public drinking water pipelines, and the doors of elevators, and the air and water will take care of the rest.”

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Mata Al-Sa’a also said that cultivating “millions of germs and viruses” is a simple process that requires no require sophisticated labs, but only a “small lab [located] inside a tiny apartment. Most of the Islamic State soldiers are istishhadiyyoun [suicide attackers], and all are ready not only to carry the Ebola [viruses] but to [even] ingest the Ebola… if they were asked to carry its pathogen and spread it in America. When the forces of the cross collaborate to kill Muslims’ dream of establishing an Islamic State, they must realize that two billion Muslims will not stand with their arms crossed.”[1]

Kurdish Jihadi Group Ansar Al-Islam, Which Recently Announced Its Disbanding And Its Merger With Islamic State And Its Pledge Of Loyalty To Baghdadi, Tweets Photos Of Its Chemists Working With Poison: “Cooking Something New In Syria”

On August 28, 2014, ISIS announced that the Kurdish jihadi group Ansar Al-Islam In Iraq had joined its ranks. Photos of the ceremonial merger of the two groups as well as the statement on the merger by Ansar Al-Islam were posted on Twitter and alplatformmedia.com respectively. In its statement, which was dated August 25, 2014, Ansar Al-Islam said that it had decided to dissolve and to instead swear allegiance to the Caliph Ibrahim, i.e. Islamic State leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. The bay’a (oath of loyalty) to the Islamic State, it said, had been reached after a number of meetings between Ansar Al-Islam and Islamic State sheikhs, at which they provided both textual and logical proofs for the caliphate project. Thus, Ansar Al-Islam said that it reached the conclusion that the Islamic State is a viable state with its own institutions, and that it also has “international weight,” that is, influence.[2]

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In a series of tweets, Ansar Al-Islam also discussed its history and its activities in the lab working on possible chemical and biological “poison,” and “deadly chemicals,” as well as its history of innovative terrorist attacks:

“& Ansar al-Islam was one of the reason #American attacked #Iraq, & when US came to #Iraq, Ansar were one of the strongest Resistance for them”; “In 2003 #US #Congress held a session discussing to attack Ansar al-Islam in #Iraq bcuz they were discovering new Poisons & Deadly Chemicals”; “Ansar al-Islam is the group that made first remote-controlled Car Bombs in #Iraq and then tried it on #US Army & Maliki Thugs”; “Ansar al-Islam is known for their #Engineers & #Chemists who scared #US to extent that #US held a session to discuss about them in Congress”; “Ansar al-Islam is the oldest #Jihadi Group in #Iraq * #Kurdistan, even older than #AlQaeda in Iraq. The group was formed in 90’s”; “In 90s 400 Mujahideen of Ansar al-Islam previously known as Jund al-Islam won the Battle of #Kurdistan against 23000 Kurdistan Army”; “Some people must be asking who is this Ansar al-Islam? Ans: They are the Mujahideen who established first Islamic ​Emirates in #Iraq & #Kurdistan”; “Ansar al-Islam the Group which has best #Scientist Mujahideen; Back in Action This Time in #Syria”; “Allah-0-Akbar Lions of #Kurdistan * #Iraq Ansar al-Islam is back ! This Time Cooking something new in #Syria”.

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ISIS Spokesman Calls To Kill Westerners, Including Civilians, By Any Means Possible – Including By “Inject[ing] With Poison”

In response to the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State (ISIS), on September 21, 2014, Al-Furqan, the media company of the Islamic State (ISIS), released a 42-minute audio message by ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad Al-‘Adnani. In the message, titled “Your Lord Is Ever Watchful” (Koran 89:14), Al-‘Adnani calls upon ISIS supporters worldwide to kill Westerners, especially American and French, in response to the Western campaign against the IS, including by injecting them with poison:  “Oh monotheists wherever you are, cause [the West] to let go of the Islamic State, to the best of your ability. The best thing to do would be to kill any French or American infidel or any of their allies… If you cannot [detonate] a bomb or [fire] a bullet, arrange to meet alone with a French or an American infidel and bash his skull in with a rock, slaughter him with a knife, run him over with your car, throw him off a cliff, strangle him, or inject him with poison. Don’t stand by, helpless and abject.… This is a serious matter you face, for the Islamic faith is predicated upon the principle of al-wala wal-bara [loyalty to Muslims and hostility towards infidels].

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Report On Alaan TV: ISIS Laptop Found With Material On Making Biological Weapons, Fatwas Allowing Attacks

Alaan TV reported on the contents of a laptop belonging to a member of ISIS, a Tunisian national named Muhammad. According to the report, the laptop was captured by “moderate” Syrian rebels at an ISIS safe house, and contained files on how to manufacture biological and chemical weapons and how to create and spread an epidemic.

The report stated: “Among the documents is a 19-page document which proves ISIS has an interest in the subject of how to make biological weapons and the plague. [According to one of the documents,] ‘the microbe is injected in small mice and the symptoms of the disease start to appear within 24 hours.”

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The report said that much of the content came from “thousands of jihadi documents, mostly only published on what is called ‘the deep or dark web’ [which] is a part of the internet which is difficult to reach because it is not indexed by standard search engines.”

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In answer to the question, “Why is ISIS interested in biological weapons?” the report quoted from another of the documents found on the laptop: “The advantages of biological weapons are the low cost and the high rate of casualties and possibility of using it in artillery shells.” It continued: “As to how to spread the chemical and biological agents, the documents read: ‘There are many methods to spread the chemical or biological agents in a way to impact the biggest number of people. Air, main water supplies lines, and food. The most dangerous is through air and these are the most common ways: Exploding a bomb or missile to spread the chemical or biological agent over large areas; crops spraying machine or a plane to spray the agent over the city; a car or any vehicle that moves through the city and spreads the particles through the crowded streets; small bombs or boxes that contain the spray and get released in crowded areas like subways, sports facilities or recreational areas.'”

The report also addressed the religious justification for use of weapons of mass destruction: “In another document, one of the jihadists asks a sheikh for a fatwa on the permissibility of the using biological weapons as many innocent people may be killed after using it. [The response was]: ‘If Muslims cannot stop infidels unless they use these weapons, then it is permissible to use it even if you wipe them and their descendants.'”

The report concluded: “ISIS, who sees all its Muslim and non-Muslims opponents as infidels, [and] has recently committed public mass executions in Syria and Iraq, proves today, based on the content of this laptop, [that] it is determined to cause more deaths and destruction in ways that are hard to imagine.”[3]

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The laptop also reportedly included a 26-page fatwa on the use of weapons of mass destruction by Saudi jihadi cleric Nasir Al-Fahd, currently imprisoned in Saudi Arabia, which stated: “If Muslims cannot defeat the kafir [unbelievers] in a different way, it is permissible to use weapons of mass destruction… [e]ven if it kills all of them and wipes them and their descendants off the face of the Earth.”[4]

Appendix: Past Discussions By Jihadi Leaders About Using Biological And Chemical Weapons Against The U.S. And The West

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It should be noted that in the past there have been references to and discussion of this issue by leading jihadis such as Yemeni-American Al-Qaeda leader Anwar Al-Awlaki and Kuwaiti sheikh Abdallah Nafisi, a former Kuwaiti MP and an Al-Qaeda supporter. The following are examples:

Al-Qaeda English-Language Magazine Inspire, Anwar Al-Awlaki Says It Is Permissible – And Recommended – To Use Biological Weapons,  Quotes Jihadi Sheikhs

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On May 2, 2012, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) released Issues VIII (Fall 2011, 63 pp) and IX (Winter 2012, 62 pp) of its English-language online magazine Inspire, on the main jihadi forums Shumoukh Al-Islam and Al-Fida’. These issues were dedicated to Al-Awlaki and to his protégée and fellow American jihadi Samir Khan, killed September 2011 in Yemen in a U.S. drone strike. The issues included writings and statements by them and by others about them, as well as a section by Anwar Al-Awlaki explaining why attacking the West with biological and chemical weapons is permissible.

Regarding the importance and permissibility of using such weapons, Al-Awlaki cited the classical Islamic scholars who have provided religious justification for chemical and biological weapons, and concludes: “These statements of the scholars show that it is allowed to use poison or other methods of mass killing against the disbelievers who are at war with us. In addition to that, there are many other important insights in their statements that the reader may benefit from. The populations of the nations that are at war with the Muslims and especially those who are at the lead such as the U.S., Britain and France should be targeted by the mujahidin in operations that employ explosives, poisons, firearms, and all other methods that lead to inflicting the greatest harm on them and this is among the greatest deeds a Muslim can worship Allah with in our day and time.”[5]

The specific examples Al-Awlaki cited were: “Imam Al-Mawardi: ‘[I]t is allowed to attack the enemy (in the place where they live such as their cities or villages) when they are not aware, like what the Messenger of Allah did with Bani Al-Mustalaq, and it is allowed to attack them at night and to set fire to their homes and throw on them fire, snakes or scorpions, demolish their homes with them inside, release floods onto them, cutoff their water supply, and do onto them all what would lead to their destruction without refraining just because of the women and children that are among them, even if that would lead to the deaths of their women and children. This is because the Messenger of Allah did not stop from attacking Bani Al-Mustalaq or Al-Taif because of their women and children. The instruction of the Messenger of Allah not to kill women and children is when they are intentionally executed; also when they fall as booty they should not be killed. However when they are residing in dar al-harb, it is halal to target them and they carry the same ruling as their men.’

“Imam Al-Sarkhasi (a Hanafi scholar) quotes Muhammad ibn Al-Hassan from Sharh al-Sayr al-Kabir: ‘It is allowed for the Muslims to burn the fortresses of the disbelievers with fire, to flood them with water, or to put blood, feces or poison in their water until they contaminate it because Allah commanded us to subdue them and break their strength and all methods of war which we mentioned that would lead to their weakening would be fulfilling the commands (of Allah) and would not fall under disobeying (of Allah). All of this also damages the enemy and that is a way to obtain rewards… None of the mentioned (methods of war) are prohibited [even] if there is among them Muslim prisoners of war, people who are given peace, young or old, men or women even if we know that, because there is no way to avoid them and at the same time fulfill the commands of subjugating the disbelievers and whatever is not possible to avoid is forgiven…’

“Imam Al-Kharshi (a Maliki scholar): ‘It is allowed to fight the enemy if they do not respond to what we call them to with all forms of war. It is allowed to cut off water from them to kill them from thirst, to release floods on them, to drown them according to the famous opinion, or to kill them with weapons such as a blow from a sword, a stab from a lance, a missile from a mangonel [catapult] or other weapons of war.’

“Imam Al-Shafi’i: ‘If the enemy protects himself in a mountain, a fortress, a trench, with thorn trees, or with any form of protection it is allowed to strike them with mangonels, catapults, fire, scorpions, snakes and all what harms them. It is allowed to flood them with water to drown them, or to get them hampered in mud. That is whether women, children and priests are among them or not because the land (of war) is not protected with Islam or with a covenant. It is also acceptable to burn their fruit trees or other trees, to destroy their buildings and all what doesn’t have a soul from their belongings.’

“Imam Al-Bahuti (a Hanbali scholar): ‘It is also allowed to strike them (the disbelievers) and put fire, snakes or scorpions in the scales of the mangonel, to fill their tunnels with smoke, to release floods on them in order to drown them, and to destroy their fortresses and buildings. But if we can defeat them without the use of fire then we shouldn’t use it.;

“Imam Al-Shawkani: ‘Allah has commanded us to kill the disbelievers without specifying the methods of doing so. Allah did not command us to do this or not do that. Therefore there is no preventing from killing them with every means of killing whether it is shooting, stabbing, flooding, demolishing buildings on them or throwing them from heights.'”

Al-Awlaki In Inspire Issue VIII: “The Use of Poisons or Chemical and Biological Weapons Against Population Centers Is Allowed And Is Strongly Recommended – And The U.S., Britain, and France Should Be Targeted”

In an article titled “Targeting the Populations of Countries that Are at War with the Muslims” in Issue VIII of Inspire, Al-‘Awlaki justified the targeting of non-combatant populations (i.e. women and children) in countries that are at war with Muslims, including with chemical and biological weapons.

The article addresses a query that recurred frequently in responses to Inspire’s invitation for Muslims to submit questions for an upcoming AQAP video Q&A session with Al-‘Awlaki. However, Al-‘Awlaki was killed before the session could take place.

The article concludes with Al-Awlaki’s recommendation for effective non-discriminatory methods of warfare that would be allowed according to the “evidence” he has provided: “The use of explosives against populated areas in nations that are at war with Muslims is allowed. Explosive devices are similar to the effect a mangonel would have… The use of firearms in operations such as that of Mumbai, which targeted the general population, is allowed and is similar to the bayat method of war discussed above…The use of poisons or chemical and biological weapons against population centers is allowed and is strongly recommended due to its great effect on the enemy.”

Also included are quotes of Al-‘Awlaki citing several additional scholars, showing that they too supported the use of “mass killing” and his conclusion that “[these] statements of the scholars show that it is allowed to use poison or other methods of mass killing against the disbelievers who are at war with us… The populations of the nations that are at war with the Muslims, and especially those who are at the lead such as the U.S., Britain and France, should be targeted by the mujahideen in operations that employ explosives, poisons, firearms and all other methods that lead to inflicting the greatest harm on them. And this is among the greatest deeds a Muslim can worship Allah with in our day and time.”[6]

Kuwaiti Sheikh Calls For Biological Attack On U.S.

On February 2, 2009, on Al-Jazeera TV, Kuwaiti sheikh Abdallah Nafisi, a former Kuwaiti MP and an Al-Qaeda supporter, famously called for biological attacks to be carried out against the U.S. from its southern border. Even five years later, his statements still resonate in the jihadi twittersphere. For example, on August 20, 2014 a Twitter account featuring the logo of the Al-Qaeda media wing Al-Sahab tweeted a YouTube link to the video of Sheikh Nafisi’s statements.

In the video, the sheikh states, “Four pounds of anthrax – in a suitcase… carried by a fighter through tunnels from Mexico into the U.S. are guaranteed to kill 330,000 Americans within a single hour, if it is properly spread in population centers there. What a horrifying idea. 9/11 will be small change in comparison. Am I right? There is no need for airplanes, conspiracies, timings, and so on. One person, with the courage to carry four pounds of anthrax, will go to the White House lawn, and will spread this ‘confetti’ all over them, and then will do these cries of joy. It will turn into a real ‘celebration.'”[7]

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‘Al-Qaeda Airlines’ Magazine Provides Details For Manufacturing And Distributing Poisons For Use In Attacks Against The West

On April 7, 2012, a member of the Shumoukh Al-Islam forum, “Adnan Shukri” published the first issue of a magazine titled Al-Qaeda Airlines on the forum. The 73-page issue, compiled from various online sources, is the work of “Abdallah Dhu Al-Bajadin,” a known explosives expert on jihadi forums who has reportedly mentored other explosives experts. His real identity is unknown.

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The first issue of the magazine is devoted entirely to the home manufacture of chloroform. Al-Bajadin says that he chose to write about this topic for a number of reasons, including to introduce variety in the forum’s military section, which focuses primarily on explosives, and to share knowledge about the chemical’s various applications in jihadi operations: manufacturing poisons and deadly gases, assassinating enemy targets, and supplementing explosives.

It should be noted that the magazine received its own banner on the forum’s main page, and has been disseminated by many online jihadis.”[8]

On August 5, 2012, the third issue of Al-Qaeda Airlines was published on the Shumoukh Al-Islam forum, as a 346-page PDF. This issue offers detailed information on the home manufacture of ricin and nicotine, two highly toxic chemicals. Like the first two issues, this issue’s stated purpose was to assist mujahideen interested in carrying out attacks in the West as part of Al-Qaeda’s strategy to wage a war of attrition against the U.S. and its allies. The magazine was a compilation of content from various online sources, and also included five short video clips, four of which demonstrated methods for the home manufacture of the chemicals. The fifth video clip, along with a Word document containing previously released Al-Qaeda material, focused on instigating lone-wolf operations.

It is noteworthy that despite Dhu Al-Bajadin’s meticulous background research, as part of which he collected, organized, and presented information from a large number of available online sources, he himself states that the main goal of the magazine is not to teach readers how to produce chemically pure ricin or nicotine poison – although this is clearly a worthwhile endeavor – but rather to spread fear and panic amongst the enemy and its media outlets, and intelligence and security apparatuses over the very possibility that a lone-wolf mujahid might carry out a chemical-biological attack against the West.

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Of the magazine’s 346 pages, 280 are dedicated to ricin, likely because of the chemical’s high toxicity, relatively simple method of preparation, and versatility. He warns those who take it upon themselves to manufacture these substances to take strict security measures at all times, so as not to fall victim to the “idiot FBI agents who hunt Muslims in mosques… [and] then appear over the American media as if they were the smartest intelligence apparatus in the world.”

Al-Bajadin also offers a wide variety of possible targets where ricin and nicotine can be used: local water supplies, air conditioning units in large buildings (mentioning the former World Trade Center as an example), food supplies, subway systems, stadiums, mail, and the door handles of shops and cars, and more.[9]

 ©  The Middle East Media Research Institute All Rights Reserved

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Endnotes:

[1] See MEMRI JTTM report In Response To U.S.-Led Coalition Against The Islamic State (ISIS), Online Jihadis Call For Lone-Wolf Attacks Inside The U.S. And Against U.S. Interests, Present List Of Targets, Including Figures In Politics, Finance, And Media, September 18, 2014

[2] See MEMRI JTTM report Kurdish Jihadi Group Ansar Al-Islam Announces Its Dismantling And Merger With Islamic State (IS), August 29, 2014. Ansar Al-Islam washed its hands from any statement bearing the group’s name that might be published in the future. It also said that any opposition to its joining the IS that might be voiced in the future does not represent the group. Ansar Al-Islam also called on all jihad groups, including members of Ansar Al-Islam outside Iraq (a reference to Ansar Al-Islam’s branch in Syria) to join the IS.

[3] Alaan TV (UAE), August 27, 2014.

[4] Foreign Policy,  August 28, 2014 Found: The Islamic State’s Terror Laptop of Doom 

[5] See MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis Series Report No. 831, AQAP Releases Issues VIII and IX of Its English-Language Magazine ‘Inspire’, Calling for Lone-Wolf Jihad Attacks Targeting ‘Populations’; Permitting Chemical and Biological Weapons, May 7, 2012.

[6] See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 4691, Anwar Al-‘Awlaki in Inspire VIII: Targetting Non-Muslim Civilians Is Justified; Targetting U.S. with Explosives Is ‘among the Greatest Deeds a Muslim Can Worship Allah with in our Day and Time’, May 3, 2012.

[7] See MEMRI TV Clip #2027 – Kuwaiti Professor Abdallah NAfisi Suggests about a Biological Attack at the White House and Prays for the Bombing of a Nuclear Plan on Lake Michigan, February 2, 2009.

[8] See MEMRI JTTM reportWeapons And Explosives Expert Publishes First Issue of ‘Al-Qaeda Airlines’ Magazine, Dedicated Entirely to Home Manufacture of Chloroform, April 10, 2012.

[9] See MEMRI JTTM report Weapons And Explosives Expert Published ‘Al-Qaeda Airlines’ III, Dedicated To Home Manufacture Of Ricin, Nicotine For Use In Chemical-Biological Attacks, August 6, 2012.