“[According to the website], urban cells should seek economic targets, such as Jewish investments in Muslim countries, international companies, international economic experts, exports from ‘Crusader countries’ and raw materials being ‘stolen from Muslim countries by the enemies’.”
Surprising? No. But the communique provides a useful display of tactics, ideology, and imaginary grievances like the “theft” of oil. “Jihadist cells urged to kill Canadians,” by Ian MacLeod for CanWest News Service, July 28:
OTTAWA – A virulent al-Qaida website has issued a new call for followers to kill Canadians and other westerners and attack oil and economic targets.
The message on the password-protected al-Ekhlaas.net forum was posted July 7, the third anniversary of the London transit massacre. The website is a notorious and favoured site of hardcore jihadists.
Experts are debating the significance of the latest al-Ekhlaas threat calling for the targeting of Christians, especially those from Canada the United States, Britain, Spain, Australia and Italy.
Most unsettling, perhaps, is the instructional nature of the posting. Details of the Arabic-language posting, entitled “Clandestine work inside the city,” were recently translated and reported by the Jamestown Foundation, a conservative Washington think-tank.
Under the nom de guerre Abu Hajar Abdul Aziz al-Moqrin (the former leader of al-Qaida’s Saudi wing killed in 2004), the posting explains how a four-unit jihadist cell should be properly trained in urban terror warfare before activation.
An urban cell needs a commanding unit, an intelligence unit, a logistics unit and an execution unit, it explains. The units are to communicate indirectly through using the dead letter box technique (or “save draft” drop box on a shared e-mail account.)
Further, the intelligence cell that collects information on a target must not know the purpose of the information. The cell that secures weapons and equipment must not know the target or the time of execution.
Al-Moqrin warns jihadists not to attack religious figures because it harms the cause. Instead, urban cells should seek economic targets, such as Jewish investments in Muslim countries, international companies, international economic experts, exports from “Crusader countries” and raw materials being “stolen from Muslim countries by the enemies,” with al-Moqrin calling for attacks on oil wells, pipelines and oil tankers.
Human targets, according to the Jamestown synopsis, should be prioritized as follows:
1. Jews: Jews from Israel and the United States have priority over Jews from Britain and France.
2. Christians, especially those from Canada, the United States, Britain, Spain, Australia and Italy.
3. Apostates, particularly Muslim leaders who keep close ties with Jewish and “Christian governments,” such as Egyptian President Husni Mubarak and the leaders of the Gulf States.
4. Secular individuals, including “spies and security officials” who “protect Jews and Christians.”
Terrorism experts are divided on the message’s import.
“The reference to Canada is fairly peripheral and embedded in a broad anti-‘kufar’ (non-believer) strategy targeting Jews, Christians, apostate Muslim leaders, and ‘secular officials’,” says Wesley Wark, a security expert and visiting research professor at the University of Ottawa’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.
“The main interest in the story would seem to me the effort taken on some jihadi websites to try to encourage professionalism and clandestinity in terrorist operations.
“This is surely a response to the knowledge that home-grown and loosely affiliated terror networks will normally be lacking in operational knowledge and experience, especially around surveillance and security. The website is another reminder that the Internet is a powerful tool for jihad and al-Qaida and recognized by them as such.” […]
The latest message, Rudner said Monday, should be viewed with real concern, but not alarm, for three reasons:
– al-Ekhlaas is a legitimate militant Islamist website;
– the call to target oil and energy infrastructure and individuals is specific;
– and, the message may be a formal warning required by Sharia law before jihadists can attack.