The Islamic State Renews Calls for Attacks on Europe in Wake of Gaza Conflict

A fighter of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) keeps watch in the Syrian village of Baghu

Islamist propaganda is working to juice every possible advantage out of the Hamas terror attack against Israel, with calls for attacks against Jews, “crusaders”, and the West being issued.

Muslims who want to liberate Palestine should join the Islamic State, an Afghan IS propaganda newspaper claims, while others call for believers to use absolutely any means at their disposal to launch an attack, even if it’s just punching an unbeliever. The messages encouraging violence and murder are the latest wave of Islamist propaganda that has come since Hamas launched their October terrorist attack against Israel which was followed by a considerable uptick in antisemitism in Western states.

German newspaper Die Welt reports Europol-flagged Islamic State digital jihad body Talai’ al-Ansar had recently put out a new propaganda video meant to radicalise followers in Europe into action, noting it said Muslims in Europe should attack “Europe, the infidel West and everywhere… crusaders” with “bombs, guns, knives, cars, stones or punches and kicks”.

The low-tech call to war is typical of Islamist publications, which acknowledge potential terrorists may struggle to get hold of their first-choice weapons. Even in the earliest days of the Islamic State, it was calling on followers in Europe to “Kill them with knives, at the very least strike them in the face…  carry out individual attacks. Be wolves on the earth, for each man can be the equivalent of an entire army.”

These messages have often focussed on tried-and-tested methods, and after a spate of successful attacks on European cities using cars and trucks, Islamic State propaganda material focussed on encouraging vehicle jihad. There have been attempts to branch out, however, with an al-Qaeda magazine publishing detailed instructions on how to derail a speeding train. The call does not appear to have gone unheeded, with an Islamist arrested in Austria in 2019 over attempts to derail trains.

An all-too-predictable feature of the new wave of Islamist calls to war highlighted by Welt are antisemitic messages, with calls to “terrorise the Jews,” and a statement that “The Jewish monkeys and pigs truly deserved the deadly and sudden blow of the blade.”

The publications come as Germany’s domestic political police issued a warning about the risk of an Islamist terror attack against the West being the highest it has been in some time. Of particular interest to the agency, their bulletin said, was the changing dynamics between disparate Islamist groups which previously would not have supported one another over differences in doctrine or interpretation of scripture, but who have found common cause in antisemitism in the wake of the Hamas attack.

The director of the federal agency said: “Now a new [situation] is emerging: in the jihadist spectrum, we see calls for assassinations and to [link up between] Al-Qaeda and [Islamic State] over the Middle East conflict. This danger now affects highly emotional people who are inspired by trigger events. This can lead to the radicalization of perpetrators acting alone who attack ‘soft targets’ with simple means.”

The bulletin stated: “The risk potential for possible terrorist attacks against Jewish and Israeli people and institutions as well as against ‘the West’ as a whole has increased significantly.”

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