The latest edition of Al-Qaeda’s glossy recruiting magazine Inspire, released on Christmas eve has made a renewed call on the faithful to strike out against the West in lone-wolf attacks, taking on airlines and prominent public figures with home-made bombs.
The magazine encourages new recruits to take inspiration from previous lone-wolf killers, including ‘underpants bomber’ Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, Boston marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, and the “splendid” recent axe-attack on New York City policemen in October. Now in its 13th edition, Inspire magazine is in direct competition with Islamic State glossy magazine Dabiq for recruits and exposure. Both magazines give advice on launching attacks, how to prepare weapons, and give consideration to theological matters.
In the light of recent attacks against civilians and members of the armed forces and police in Western countries including France, the United Kingdom, United States, and Canada, it is significant that both Inspire magazine and the Islamic State have advocated car ram-raids to “mow down” pedestrians. Before Christmas dozens were injured and one member of the public was killed after a number of instances of cars being driven into crowds as the drivers reportedly shouted the Arabic salutation-turned war-cry “Allahu Akbar”.
In the latest edition, the focus of attacks has moved back to more familiar ground for Al-Qaeda, the Western Airline industry. Various airlines that should be of especial interest to would-be killers were highlighted in the table, with a brief explanation of why each should be of interest. British Airways was highlighted because it is the national flag-carrier, while budget airline Easy Jet should be targeted because the planes were densely packed with passengers. Readers were exhorted to “crush the enemy’s economy”.
Although it is not known how widely the magazines are read in the Western World, intelligence agencies believe the advice dispensed is sometimes put into use. It is thought the bombs used to attack the Boston Marathon were of the kind described in the first edition of Inspire. The instructions which were published in an article titled ‘Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom’ helpfully added “We came up with these simple materials that are readily available around the globe, even inside America”.
Readers wishing to help forestall any future terrorist attacks probably should not seek out a copy of the magazine, however. British newspaper the Daily Mail reports since the Terrorism act of 2000 merely having a downloaded copy of Al-Qaeda or Islamic State magazines could result in a ten-year prison sentence.