A laptop that belonged to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) contains documents that explain how to create bubonic plague bombs.
The laptop was recovered in a raid against ISIS by a moderate Syrian rebel group. It contained 35,347 files in 2,367 folders filled with training manuals and ideological justifications for jihad, Foreign Policy magazine reports.
It was also discovered that the owner of the laptop, identified as Tunisian national Muhammed S., was learning how to build biological weapons. He studied chemistry and physics at a Tunisian university.
The laptop contained a 19-page document with the details, explaining that “the advantage of biological weapons is that they do not cost a lot of money, while the human casualties can be huge” and that the way to do it is to “use small grenades with the virus, and throw them in closed areas like metros, soccer stadiums, or entertainment centers” near air-conditioning.
A 26-page document was also found on the laptop contains a fatwa by Saudi cleric Nasir al-Fahd, who is currently in prison in Saudi Arabia.
“If Muslims cannot defeat the kafir[unbelievers] in a different way, it is permissible to use weapons of mass destruction,” the fatwa says.
Bubonic plague symptoms include swollen lymph nodes in the groin, armpit or neck, fever, fatigue and muscle aches, according to the Mayo Clinic. The National Institutes of Health’s website states that the bubonic plague can result in death if treatment isn’t given within 24 hours.
There is no evidence that ISIS currently is in possession of biological weapons.
“The real difficulty in all of these weapons … [is] to actually have a workable distribution system that will kill a lot of people,” Magnus Ranstorp, research director of the Center for Asymmetric Threat Studies at the Swedish National Defence College, told FP. “But to produce quite scary weapons is certainly within [the Islamic State's] capabilities.”