Suspected New York City bomber Ahmad Khan Rahami referenced now-deceased Islamic State spokesman Abu Muhammed al-Adnani in his journal, a purported picture of the journal obtained by ABC News reveals.
The bloodstained journal clearly makes reference to seeking “guidance” from leading terrorist figures Anwar al-Awlaki and “Brother Adnani.”
Adnani rose to chief spokesman of ISIS, frequently encouraging lone wolf attacks in the West, particularly on non-believers. After the announcement of Adnani’s death, Rita Katz, of Site Intelligence group, tweeted that ISIS supporters calling for lone wolf attacks cite Adnani more than any other terrorist.
In his last public speech, Adnani advised would-be terrorists in the West that attacks on civilians were “dearer and better for us” than battlefield victories for ISIS. Rahami’s suspected domestic attack may have been inspired by Adnani’s statement. The FBI criminal complaint against Rahami notes he wrote about “attacking [non-believers] in their backyard.”
Adnani was the head of an elite special operations branch within ISIS that is creating a network of hundreds of foreign fighters who are actively planning multiple coordinated attacks across Europe.
Rahami’s reference to Adnani does not necessarily mean the attack was ISIS-inspired or directed. Anwar al-Awlaki was a member of al-Qaida in the Arabian peninsula, but is still seen as a reverential figure by ISIS. Rahami’s journal also made reference to Osama Bin-Laden, Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan, both of whom were affiliated with al-Qaida.
Rahami may not have even acted in the name of any one terrorist group. His journal references U.S. activity in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Palestine. The FBI or ABC News have not revealed any explicit declaration of faith to ISIS’s leader Abu Bakr Al-Bagdadi, which is typical of an ISIS-inspired attack.
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