The Islamic State is urging jihadists in the United States and Europe to carry out terror attacks during what a group spokesman promised would be “the month of conquest and jihad.”
A U.S. government advisory warned that ISIS attacks, either directly sponsored or simply inspired by the group’s rhetoric, could be carried out during Islam’s month of Ramadan that begins June 5.
The threatened attacks were announced in an ISIS video made public May 21.
In the video, ISIS spokesman Abu Mohammad al-Adnani called on jihadists to “get prepared, be ready … to make it a month of calamity everywhere for nonbelievers…especially for the fighters and supporters of the caliphate in Europe and America.”
A report by the State Department-led Overseas Security Advisory Council said the threat could be credible because three deadly terror attacks took place last year shortly after Adnani issued a similar call to arms.
“According to Islamic practice, sacrifice during Ramadan can be considered more valuable than that made at other times, so a call to martyrdom during the month may hold a special allure to some,” the report said.
There is no information indicating a specific ISIS attack is being planned, although the threat of attacks remains significant, the report said.
The report, produced by the State Department’s diplomatic security office, said there is no data to indicate Ramadan witnesses increased terrorism, “but as [ISIS] remains focused on expanding conflict, it is likely to continue to seek to carry out attacks during the holy month.”
Ramadan includes a period of fasting for Muslims and is held each year during the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar.
ISIS declared its so-called Islamic caliphate during Ramadan in 2014.
After the broadcast provocation from ISIS, the State Department urged American businesses operating abroad to “remain aware of the persistent threat of [ISIS] attacks, both inspired and directed.”
Adnani, in the video, did not say what targets should be attacked but stated that “the smallest action in their heartland is better and more.” He also urged jihadists to conduct lone-wolf attacks and said doing so would produce “the great reward of martyrdom.”
“The terrorism risk at the moment is generally high,” the report said.
Attacks merely inspired by the group pose a special threat because of the inability to track and counter jihadists not linked directly to ISIS, headquarted in Syria.
“The lone-wolf threat is less likely to be bound by geographic boundaries, which may make it less difficult to identify higher-risk locations,” the report said.
The Department of Homeland Security has not raised the terrorism alert level so far in response to the potential threat. The State Department has not issued a new warning to American travelers, although it updated a travel warning to those visiting Europe that terror attacks could be carried out at the European soccer championship scheduled to begin June 10, and a Catholic World Youth Day in Poland July 26.
The State Department’s annual report on terrorism, made public this week, called ISIS “the greatest threat globally, maintaining a formidable force in Iraq and Syria, including a large number of foreign terrorist fighters.”
Although the group has lost territory as a result of international counterterrorism operations, ISIS is expanding in Libya and other parts of the world.
SOURCE: Bill Gertz
Washington Free Beacon