Al-Qaeda Threatens Attacks on ‘Vulnerable’ U.S. Rail System: ‘It Is Time That We Instill Fear’

FILE - In this July 27, 2015, file photo, traffic passes one of two mile-long oil trains p
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File

The Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), in the latest edition of its propaganda magazine Inspire, is urging its sympathizers and followers in the West to carry out mass casualty terrorist attacks, particularly against the “vulnerable” rail network in the United States.

In an article titled “Train Derail Operations,” al-Qaeda encourages jihadists to take advantage of the vulnerabilities of train routes in the West, noting that the operation does require “martyrdom” and therefore “can be repeated.”

AQAP called on its supporters to target “the lengthy unguarded tracks in the U.S., France, and the U.K. and to place obstacles that will cause trains to derail, striking fear in the hearts of the West as well as weakening their economies,” reports Foreign Desk (FD), adding that the jihadist group stressed that the derailing operation does not necessarily require the use of explosives.

“O Mujahideen, it is time that we instill fear and make them impose strict security measures to trains as they did with their Air transportation. Continue to bleed the American economy to more losses, increase the psychological warfare and make it worry, fear and weaken much more,” declares the al-Qaeda article.

“The simplicity of the [train derail] device’s design (no explosives required) as well as the notion that such an attack is not a martyrdom operation, but rather one that can be repeated over and over again are listed by the writer as advantages over other forms of lone-wolf attacks,” points out FD.

The magazine offers three options for would-be jihadists who decide to target rail systems in the West.

“They can directly target the train from ‘either inside or from outside,’ or target ‘the rail itself so as to derail the train,’ or assault train stations, which ‘are always crowded and cause major interruption towards the transportation system,'” reports the Long War Journal (LWJ).

Some of the advantages of derailing trains include being able to “hide your tracks from forensics after the operation,” argues AQAP in the article.

Inspire also provides an in-depth tutorial spanning 19 pages on how to derail trains that also includes a list of dozens of “vulnerable” train routes in the United States as potential targets.

AQAP has emerged as al-Qaeda’s most dangerous and potent threat against the United States.

However, Al-Qaeda-linked jihadists in Syria have benefited largely from the U.S.-led coalition mainly focusing on defeating the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) in the Middle East.

Inspire, published since around 2010, is known for its “open source jihad” style — publishing step-by-step guides advising prospective terrorists on how to carry out attacks, often by using readily accessible materials and equipment.


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