Report: Islamic State Using Encrypted App to Promote Times Square-Style Car Attacks

FILE - In this Thursday, May 18, 2017 file photo, a car rests on a security barrier in New York's Times Square after driving through a crowd of pedestrians, injuring at least a dozen people. A three-foot-tall piece of stainless steel in the ground ultimately stopped a speeding Honda Accord …
AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

The Islamic State (ISIS) is reportedly taking to social media to encourage followers to replicate attacks on civilians, using moving vehicles–similar to the incident that took place in New York’s Time Square, according to a report from journalist Lisa Daftari.

“Soon, the vehicle attacks will be witnessed on your streets, by Allah’s permission,” the group reportedly wrote on the Telegram Messaging App, warning that they “will continue to terrorize you and ruin your lives,” while urging the group’s followers to sell their soul to Allah.

“O Muwahhid (believer), Indeed it is a single soul and a single paradise, so sell it to Allah and purchase Jannah (afterlife). Sell what is temporary for what is lasting, for how blessed a transaction is that transaction! Blessed would be the seller and blessed be the buyer,” the message read.

The messages carried hashtags relating to the recent incident in New York, where 26-year-old Richard Rojas mounted the sidewalk in his vehicle and hit a crowd of pedestrians, killing one person and injuring 22 others.

However, police say the incident did not appear to be a terrorist attack; Rojas seems to suffer from mental illness and to have taken drugs at the time of the incident, and he had two prior DUIs on his record.

In recent months, ISIS has claimed responsibility for vehicle-related incidents in Nice, London, and Berlin. In Nice, southern France, 86 people were killed after a Tunisian man drove a truck through a crowd celebrating Bastille Day on the city’s beachfront. Meanwhile, a large truck that stormed through a Christmas market in Berlin killed 12 people, while a police officer was killed and 30 injured in a car attack in Westminster, London.

Following a recent car ramming attack in London, ISIS’s magazine, Rumiyahsingled out busy streets as “ideal targets” for supporters to mow down pedestrians and maximize impact.

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