National Security

ISIS Issues Guide For Thanksgiving Day Terror Attacks

REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter
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The Islamic State has issued a guide for its followers in the U.S. and Western countries, detailing how to engage in successful terror attacks, specifically on Thanksgiving day.

The guide was featured in ISIS’s most recent edition Rumiyah, its English language magazine. It explained that ISIS adherents in the West have “a multitude of weapons and techniques that he may employ” to “inflict misery and destruction upon the enemies of Allah.” Vehicle attacks are one of the most effective weapons in the terrorist arsenal, the guide stated.

“Though being an essential part of the modern life, very few actually comprehend the deadly and destructive capability of the motor vehicle and its capacity of reaping large numbers of casualties if used in a premeditated manner,” the guide stated.

ISIS pointed to the terror attack in Nice, France in July as an example of how effective a vehicle attack can be. An ISIS adherent of Tunisian background drove a large truck through a crowd, killing 86.

The guide suggested using a large load-bearing truck to engage in such an attack, and recommends “large outdoor conventions and celebrations” as potential targets. It includes a picture of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, with the caption “an excellent target.” ISIS also suggested creating a multi-step plan before engaging in the attack, which includes assessing a practical target and carrying a secondary weapon.

ISIS often uses its media outlets to encourage followers abroad to engage in terrorist attacks. The terrorist group initially encouraged followers to travel to the so-called caliphate in Syria and Iraq to engage in jihad, but changed its tactics last year after the Operation Inherent Resolve coalition began to push back against ISIS forces. ISIS has engaged in several successful attacks against Western targets ranging from France to the U.S.

ISIS rarely directs attacks abroad directly, instead issuing guides and suggestions allowing radicalized followers abroad to engage in their own attacks. The decentralized strategy is much more effective than a top-down strategy, such as the attacks on September 11, 2001. It also minimizes the risk of being caught by security officials.

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