National Security

This Is NOT The Way ISIS Claims An Attack

Reuters / Kai Pfaffenbach Livepic

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter
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The attack on Germany’s Dortmund soccer team has many jumping to blame the Islamic State, however, a closer look at the facts show that might not be the case.

The perpetrator of the attack left a letter at the scene of the crime claiming ISIS was responsible. At first glance, the bombing attack contains some of the hallmarks of a jihadi attack, but as New York Times al-Qaida and ISIS correspondent Rukmini Callimachi has noted, there are some points of concern.

The attacker targeted the soccer team, formally known as Borussia Dortmund, with explosives, injuring defender Marc Bartra. The letter claimed ISIS was responsible, and used some of the tropes utilized by jihadi attackers, such as admonishing the West for engaging in operations in Muslim lands and threats against “crusader nations.”

ISIS has developed a sort of “protocol” when claiming attacks through their communications, according to Callimachi, and the method and language used by the attacker doesn’t seem to match.

First, and perhaps foremost, ISIS has yet to claim the attack over its official news service, Amaq. Second, the language used by the attacker doesn’t match previous ISIS attacks. The attacker’s letter referred to the “caliphate” and “Islamic State,” yet as Callimachi noted, even non-Arabic speaking ISIS members tend to use the Arabic terms “Khilafa” and “Dawla Islamiya.”

Those words represent a brand to ISIS, according to Callimachi.

“It’s like an Apple product,” she said in a tweet Wednesday.

Of course, there is still a good chance ISIS could still claim the attack. German authorities have detained a suspected Islamist in connection with the attack, and the group has sometimes gone days without claiming attacks perpetrated by its followers. Furthermore, there is also a chance that ISIS itself is directly responsible. ISIS attacks in the West tend to either be perpetrated by agents sent from Syria, such as the case with Paris attackers, while other attacks are perpetrated by adherents recruited inside the West.

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