ISIS has released a video to commemorate–and celebrate–the 9/11 attacks. “We are back in America,” the terrorist nation declares, warning that Americans can expect another attack on the scale of what their godfathers in al-Qaeda pulled off on September 11, 2001, and promising to deliver “cars full of explosives and suicide bombers.”
ISIS and al-Qaeda are fighting on several fronts today, including Syria and Afghanistan, but the ten-minute video (which can be viewed in its entirety here) approvingly quotes Osama bin Laden: “Every Muslim, from the moment they realise the distinction in their hearts, hates Americans, hates Jews, and hates Christians. … For as long as I can remember, I have felt tormented and at war, and have felt hatred and animosity for Americans.”
The UK Daily Record notes that the video purportedly comes from ISIS hacker groups calling themselves the “Islamic Cyber Army” and “Caliphate Hackers,” whose Twitter accounts buzzed with activity promising a September 11 “America Under Hacks” cyber-attack this year, but no such action was attempted.
It is not clear if these groups are affiliated with the hackers who have perpetrated ISIS-linked cyber crimes in the past, or are even official members of the Islamic State. It is not difficult for any random group of goons to put a video together, flush it onto social media, and claim to be members of ISIS. All the images in this video would have been easily gathered from online sources; much of it consists of major-media stock footage. There have been other recent examples of hoaxers and impostors claiming to be ISIS hackers and recruiters, notably Joshua Ryne Goldberg of Florida, who believed he had convinced an ISIS enthusiast to build a functional bomb and deploy it at a 9/11 event in Missouri.
This video is heavily produced, as with official ISIS productions of the past, but a few differences besides the generally approving attitude displayed toward al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden exist. Some of the background singing is in English, for example, promising that the “soldiers of Allah are more than ready” to carry out new terrorist strikes.
The members of this “Islamic Cyber Army” supposedly introduce themselves at the end of the clip, using aliases such as “Syria Virus” and “Dr. ISIS.”
The UK Daily Mail notes this purported ISIS video hit social media just one day after a genuine message from the current leader of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, calling for unity among jihadi groups (but simultaneously accusing the Islamic State of committing blasphemy by declaring itself the one true “Caliphate”). As the Daily Mail puts it, Zawahiri sent a “sinister message to young Muslim men in the United States and other Western countries, encouraging them to carry out attacks in their home countries.”
It is possible the ISIS video was quickly put together as a response to Zawahiri or an attempt to upstage him, although, of course, the timing could have been coincidental, with both actual terrorists and wannabes rushing to take advantage of 9/11.