Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

al Qaeda Joins Islamic State by Publishing a Bomb Making Guide

August 29, 2014

Terrorism: Not to be outdone by Isil, al-Qaeda publishes English-language ‘shopping list’ for making bombs that can be used to attack British and American targets

Manual encourages followers to bomb British targets including Sandhurst, the MI5 headquarters, local Marks and Spencer department stores

A screen from the al Qaeda manual

A screen from the al Qaeda manual

The terrorist group al-Qaeda has published a manual in which it encourages followers to bomb British targets including Sandhurst, the MI5 headquarters and local Marks and Spencer department stores.

The media arm of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) this week published a nine-page how-to guide in its English-language magazine on making car bombs and suggests terror targets in the UK and the US.

The publication, called Palestine-Betrayal of the Guilty Conscience Al-Malahem, suggests jihadists target the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Thames House in London and M&S department stores during Friday prayers, so as to avoid harming Muslims.

There is a suggested list of targets for lone-wolf, or individually executed, terror attacks, including New York’s Times Square, casinos and nightclubs in Las Vegas, oil tankers and busy train stations.

It also encourages attacks on places around the world where Britons, Americans and Israelis take holidays.

Included in the article is a timeline of terror attacks, including 9/11 and the Boston bombings that includes a blank entry marked 201?, implying a terror attack on foreign soil is planned for the near future.

The manual goes on to praise the “Boston bomber brothers” Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, praying Allah accept them.

“My Muslim brother: we are conveying to you our military training right into your kitchen to relieve you of the difficulty of travelling to us,” it reads.

“If you are sincere in your intentions to serve the religion of Allāh, then all what you have to do is enter your kitchen and make an explosive device that would damage the enemy if you put your trust in Allah and then use this explosive device properly.”

Steve Stalinsky, whose organisation Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) monitors the online and media activity of Jihadi groups and reported on the release of this publication, said: “Both AQAP and IS, as well as every other al-Qaeda branch and offshoot is relying on US social media companies including Twitter and YouTube for their cyber-Jihad efforts.

“There could be some envy by AQAP that IS is now getting all the headlines,” Mr Stalinsky said.

Experts Expect Employers To Increasing Monitoring of Workers’ Social Media

August 19, 2014
PwC study suggests third of young people would be happy for employer to see social media profiles in return for job security

The Guardian, Sunday 17 August 2014

Worker using a laptop

A worker using a laptop. Photograph: PhotoAlto/Alamy

A third of young people would be happy for their employer to have access to their social media profiles in return for job security, according to a report that claims such personal data monitoring will become more commonplace.

The report, written by consultants from PwC using a survey of 10,000 workers worldwide and 500 human resources (HR) professionals, suggests personal data from Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites could be used by employers to understand what motivates their workforce, reasons why people might move jobs and to improve employee wellbeing.

PwC predicts that online monitoring by employers will rise over the next decade. By 2020, people currently aged 18-32 will form half of the global workforce, bringing with them different attitudes to technology and personal data.

The research claims that younger people are more open to sharing their personal data with their employers, with 36% of Generation Y workers saying they would be happy to do so.

John Harding, human resource services partner at PwC in Manchester, said: “Just as advertisers and retailers are using data from customers’ online and social media activity to tailor their shopping experience, organisations could soon start using workers’ personal data (with their permission) to measure and anticipate performance and retention issues.

“This sort of data profiling could also extend to real-time monitoring of employees’ health, with proactive health guidance to help reduce sick leave. Key to the success of organisations being able to use employee data will be developing measurable benefits for those who hand over their data and building trust through clear rules about how data is acquired, used and shared.”

Cary Cooper, distinguished professor of organisational psychology and health at Lancaster University, said there were obvious pitfalls. “First of all, it is naive to think that if you trade off your privacy rights (eg access to one’s social media) that an employer can ever guarantee job security,” he said.

“Second, I can’t see, if an employer had access to an employee’s social media, how this could possibly lead to greater employee motivation or wellbeing. This seems a plain case of trying to find out what employees are doing and thinking – clearly an intrusion into their private life. I see no HR justification for it whatsoever.”

China continues to tighten control and monitoring of the Internet, social-networking, messaging apps

July 5, 2014


By Jonathan Cheng and Paul Mozur
The Wall Street Journal

Updated July 4, 2014
A number of popular social-networking applications reported Thursday their services were impaired in mainland China, two days after a massive pro-democracy demonstration in neighboring Hong Kong.
Users of mobile messaging applications Line and KakaoTalk in mainland China have been unable to access many of the features on the popular services since Tuesday, in the first major service disruption in the country for the companies.
Yahoo Inc. ‘s Flickr was also inaccessible on Thursday.
Line Corp. and Kakao Corp. said they didn’t know what caused several services available on their platforms to be unavailable to users in China. In an emailed statement, a Yahoo spokeswoman said: “We are aware of reports that Flickr is blocked for users in China and our team is investigating this now.”
The timing of the outage, which began on the evening of July 1 during the pro-democracy march in Hong Kong, could indicate that the Chinese government took steps to limit usage. China’s government often blocks foreign websites and smartphone services during sensitive times, like the recent 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown.

WSJD is the Journal’s home for tech news, analysis and product reviews.

Officials at China’s State Council Information Office didn’t respond to a request for comment.

A Line spokeswoman said she didn’t know when the app would become available again in China. Last month, a Line executive said the Japanese company is planning to expand its presence in China because of the hundreds of millions of potential users in the market.

Sonia Im, a spokeswoman for Kakao Corp., based in Pangyo, South Korea, said that while some features of the messaging platform still worked in China, users there couldn’t add new friends, use certain emoticons or check notices. Ms. Im said the company began receiving user complaints Tuesday evening, but that the stoppage affected the bulk of its Chinese users on Wednesday.

She said the company hoped to restore full functionality to its users as soon as possible, adding that she didn’t know what caused the disruption in service. Kakao has about 140 million registered users, but doesn’t break out its user base by country.

In China, users of Line could see that they had received a message, but couldn’t access the message itself. Mobile-phone users also could download the KakaoTalk app, but couldn’t register.

An application icon for Line’s Internet messaging and calling service. Bloomberg News

While Line isn’t widely used in China, it has proved popular with younger users, many of whom were attracted to the app because of its emoticons, which are called stickers. In Hong Kong, the app is very popular and could have easily been used to share news of the pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong across the border to China. Line said it has more than 400 million registered users, but doesn’t give a breakdown for China.

On local social media, censorship of references to the Hong Kong protests has been severe, even eclipsing blockages carried out during the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown, according to WeiboScope, a service provided by the University of Hong Kong that tracks censorship.

Many of Google Inc.’s services remain completely inaccessible in China since they were fully blocked last month in what analysts have described as an escalation of China’s attempts to control the flow of information over the Internet and put restrictions on foreign companies.

Since rising to power in 2012, Chinese President Xi Jinping has taken steps to tighten government control over the Internet. Under his leadership, the government has created a new high-profile committee to increase cybersecurity, has warned Internet celebrities with large numbers of followers about spreading rumors online, and has instituted a particularly strong antipornography campaign.

Other popular messaging services, such as WhatsApp, which Facebook Inc. recently agreed to buy, and WeChat, the popular service created by Shenzhen, China-based Tencent Holdings Ltd.  , were working. Viber, which Japan’s Rakuten Inc. agreed to acquire earlier this year, is working as usual in China, with no reports of connection problems, said a Rakuten spokeswoman.

—Juro Osawa
contributed to this article.

Write to Jonathan Cheng at and Paul Mozur at


  (From the BBC)

See also The New York Times

An Online Shift in China Muffles an Open Forum

In May, though, the government announced that WeChat would be more heavily monitored. Saying that instant messaging services were being used to spread “violence, terrorism and pornography,” the agency charged with policing the Internet said it would “firmly fight infiltration from hostile forces at home and abroad,” according to a government statement.

In its heyday, Weibo promised much more. It came to prominence in 2011 after a high-speed rail crash killed 40 people. Weibo users detailed the mayhem and government shortcomings that led to the accident, part of a surge of criticism that prompted the resignation of the railway minister. It was a signal moment in the Internet’s coming of age in China, a reminder of how the medium could challenge even a formidable authoritarian government and one of its most powerful leaders.

China’s Internet, Social Media Services Disrupted — “More Like a Black Out”

July 4, 2014



Screenshot of Line's Weibo account on 4 July at 3pm.
Thousands of Chinese users of messaging app Line have taken to the app’s Weibo account to complain
July 4, 2014

From the BBC

Thousands of Chinese users of messaging app Line have taken to the app’s Weibo account to complain

Related Stories

Several popular messaging applications and file-sharing services appear to have been blocked in mainland China this week.

These include mobile messaging apps Line, which is widely used in Asia, and Kakaotalk.

Yahoo’s photo-sharing service Flickr and Microsoft’s file storage service OneDrive have also been affected.

The move appears to have taken place ahead of a major pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong on Tuesday.

China already blocks popular social media services Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.

Yahoo told agencies that it was investigating the situation, while Line said on its Weibo account that it was working to fix the problem.

The disruption has affected users of Line in particular. The service has more than 400 million users, mostly in Asia. Thousands of Chinese users have flooded Line’s Weibo account with complaints.

People march on a street during the annual pro-democracy protest on 1 July 2014 in Hong Kong.
Organisers estimate 510,000 protesters took part in Hong Kong’s rally; police put the number much lower

A Line spokesman told Bloomberg that its users in China had not been able to access all services since 1 July, which was the anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to the mainland.

Tens of thousands took to the streets of Hong Kong that day in a major pro-democracy protest.

A representative of anti-censorship site told Reuters news agency this was not a technical malfunction, suggesting the services were blocked because they allowed users to share photos.

Checks by BBC Chinese found that Hong Kong and Taiwan Line users appeared to have been unaffected.

In May, some Line users in China complained that the app had started to censor sensitive terms related to the 4 June anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, according to BBC Chinese.

At that time, Line’s spokesman said the China version of the app was being “optimised”.



Call to jihad: ISIS Recruiting is Way Up — “Join us in forming a Sunni-led religious state spanning from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf”

June 26, 2014

An Image from an ISIS recruitment video that purports to show militant fighters from the West. Reuters

BAGHDAD—A Sunni jihadist group that has seized vast territories in Iraq and Syria is parlaying its battlefield successes into a recruitment drive that is attracting more foreign fighters, say Western and Arab officials.

The message from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS: Join us in forming a Sunni-led religious state spanning from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf.

One recruitment video, released on Friday, shows gun-toting militants, speaking with British and Australian accents, extolling the virtues of jihad and inviting viewers to join their battle in Syria and Iraq.

It isn’t the first time ISIS has tried to recruit Islamists while carefully crafting its image on social media to raise its appeal among jihadists.


But the video, disseminated last week on ISIS’s first non-Arabic Twitter accounts in English, German and Russian, is the group’s first English-language drive for foot soldiers, and reflects its attempt to burnish its jihadist credentials farther afield.

Western and Arab officials say the effort is resonating among recruits due to the group’s success in quickly extending its control over Iraqi territory in the north and west and along the country’s border with Syria.

“The recent developments have raised hopes of jihadists all over the world to establish the state they’ve aspired to create for a long time,” said an Egyptian diplomat. “We worry that more Egyptians are going to Syria and Iraq now, particularly from Sinai.”

Logistically, the fighters are able to join the fight by flying to the south of Turkey, which is one of the region’s few countries not to require a visa from other Muslim countries. From there, they typically slip across the border into Raqqa, in northern Syria, and then can traverse hundreds of miles of ISIS-held territory along western Iraq down to the border with Jordan.

“It’s an open border between Syria and Iraq,” said a senior Obama administration official. “There’s nothing stopping them moving into both fights.”

A doctor in Iraq’s second-biggest city of Mosul, which ISIS fighters overtook earlier in June, said the group’s Islamist ranks now include Europeans and people across the Middle East. He said he sees them shopping in its stores, recalling a blue-eyed, sunburned German militant he met who spoke in broken Arabic.

ISIS has also recruited members through its raids of prisons, releasing hundreds of inmates who it has integrated into its ranks, Iraqi officials say.

The insurgent group’s seizure of $450 million from Mosul’s central bank and caches of weapons seized from Iraqi troops who fled upon their arrival are also drawing rival jihadist groups in Syria to ISIS, Western and Arab officials say. Last week, four commanders from the Western-backed Free Syrian Army joined ISIS, Syrian activists said.

And this week, ISIS touted on ISIS-affiliated Twitter accounts a pledge by a senior al Qaeda operatives, Anas Ali al-Nashwan, to join the insurgents in Syria and Iraq. Saudi Arabia issued international arrest warrant in 2011 and sought help from Interpol to arrest the Saudi national, who Riyadh says fought jihad in Afghanistan.


An image from the recruitment video. Reuters

“The third most wanted man [in Saudi Arabia] has arrived on the ground to the Levant and pledged allegiance to the Islamic state,” read a tweet, linking to an image showing Mr. Nashwan with the black ISIS flag in the background.

ISIS split from al Qaeda this year and has battled its arm in Syria, al Nusra Front. ISIS leaders contend that al Qaeda has grown too soft in its approach to religious minorities and too lax on socially taboo behavior such as smoking or listening to music.

For many rival Islamists, ISIS’s draw is its sheer military might—displays of power such as a military parade in Mosul this week—that it displays on YouTube or Twitter. Those social-media tools are essential for ISIS to draw new recruits and funding, and it diligently documents its war gains online to rally supporters, the Western and Arab officials say.

ISIS asks followers on Twitter and Facebook for private donations, but has received the bulk of its funding from extortion rackets and kidnapping, Western officials say.

“For all of those who aren’t joining jihad yet, you can perform jihad with your money. We want to buy 100 grad missiles to shell Qardaha,” a Syrian town held by the government, read a recent tweet by an ISIS supporter Abdullah Mohisine that was retweeted over 900 times, attaching a Turkish phone number to call.

The group’s success in Iraq and Syria has given it newfound confidence, Syrians living in ISIS-held territory say.

In Raqqa city, which officials believe is ISIS’s operational nerve center, foreign fighters from Asia and North Africa are arriving, residents say. The new arrivals are confident ISIS will successfully resurrect an Islamic caliphate, or religious state.

“New foreign fighters are coming in and some of them are bringing their families with them. They occupied all the hotels in Raqqa and they inhabit al-Thukna, the most beautiful neighborhood in the city,” said a Raqqa resident. “ISIS is calling on Raqqa’s people to open their empty houses for the immigrants.”

European governments estimate that at least 1,400 of their citizens are fighting in Syria, most with ISIS, and pose a threat upon their return, more radicalized and with combat and explosives training.

But the true numbers may be higher—one British parliamentarian said this week that as many as 1,500 Britons have fought in Syria, compared to an official estimate of 500.

The recruitment has continued despite new legislation since late last year in places like the U.K., which has stripped at least 20 Britons of their citizenship for fighting in Syria.

One European diplomat said the conflicts in Syria and Iraq are drawing an unprecedented number of jihadists from his country.

“There were a noticeable number of school seats empty after the winter break, kids going off to war. Social workers have not seen this before” with any other Middle Eastern conflict, said a European diplomat. “We’ve also seen an increasing number of European suicide bombers.”

—Mohammed Nour Alakraa in Beirut, Jay Solomon in Washington and Laith al-Haydair in Baghdad contributed to this article.

Write to Maria Abi-Habib at

How ISIS is spreading its message online

June 19, 2014

From the BBC

"Baghdad's big battle" - an image posted on a pro-ISIS Twitter account
“Baghdad’s big battle” – an image posted on a pro-ISIS Twitter account

Alongside the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant’s (ISIS) battlefield successes in northern Iraq, the group has deployed a sophisticated social media strategy that is redefining its propaganda.

Since the offensive began on 9 June, a string of Twitter accounts claiming to represent ISIS in Iraq and Syria have been active in providing live updates on the group’s operations and images illustrating their advances.

Although the accounts have not been officially endorsed by ISIS, they have been widely promoted as official regional ISIS accounts by the group’s many online supporters.

ISIS has launched a social media campaign and is posting (mainly on Twitter) photos and statements to highlight its military strength and territorial advances in Iraq.

On 15 June, it posted images of what appears to be dozens of captured Iraqi security personnel along with threats and messages to surrounding towns warning residents of the group’s approach. The photos included the apparent capture, transport, and ultimate killing of the soldiers.

The material went viral on the internet and was widely shared by ISIS supporters.

Global campaign

According to a web-based data mining software, a large number of pro-ISIS tweets originated in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other Gulf countries.

In its Twitter feed, ISIS gives extensive details of its operations, including the number of bombings, suicide missions and assassinations it has carried out, and of checkpoints and towns it controls.

The top Twitter hashtags used by the group include: “#Baghdad_is_liberated” and “#Iraq_is_ liberated”.

Screenshot from an ISIS video posted on YouTube on 17 June, calling for support for the group
Screenshot from an ISIS video posted on YouTube on 17 June, calling for support for the group

In addition to the hashtags, the group produces professional promotional videos and urges support for its “one billion campaign”, which calls on Muslims to post messages, photos and videos on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube in support of ISIS.

One video, posted on 17 June, shows an ISIS member speaking in French and asking Muslims to support ISIS’s cause online. Many videos are also posted with English subtitles or translation.

ISIS is launching a global online campaign on 20 June to support the group’s operations in Iraq and Syria. The group is initiating a Twitter hashtag in Arabic which translates to #theFridayofsupportingISIS, asking supporters around the world to wave the ISIS flag in public, film themselves and upload the clips on social media platforms.

In April 2014, the group developed a free internet application called The Dawn of Glad Tidings, which automatically posts tweets – approved by ISIS media managers – to the accounts of the application’s subscribed users.

The posts include hashtags, links, images, videos and other content. Almost 40,000 tweets were posted in a single day during the recent clashes in Iraq.

One post which went viral was of an image of an armed jihadist gazing at the ISIS flag flying over Mosul with the inscription in Arabic: “We are coming, Baghdad”

The application is promoted by some of the organisation’s leading figures.

Spreading fear

ISIS is following a well-planned strategy and the group is selective with what is posted.

This cartoon was posted on the @ISIS_Media_Hub Twitter account
This cartoon was posted on the @ISIS_Media_Hub Twitter account

It chooses photos that have the potential of having a strong impact, presumably to create fear among its enemies and win the admiration of other radical groups.

Unlike other jihadist groups, such as the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria the Nusra Front, ISIS gives little consideration to the way it is perceived by the general public.

It rarely posts photos about its charity work or the services it provides in the towns it controls.

The Nusra Front, on the other hand, regularly posts statements and videos, showing the group’s social services, including the distribution of food to the poor and traffic management.

The Nusra Front’s approach has helped the group gain support at the grassroots level in Syria.


In an attempt to limit the impact of ISIS’s social media campaign, the Iraqi government has blocked Facebook, Twitter and other platforms.

Users in the country attempting to visit these sites are greeted by a message saying that the Ministry of Communications has barred access.

ISIS supporters strongly protested against the closure of social media platforms, blaming Twitter’s administrators for the unprecedented attack on the group’s presence on the micro-blogging site.

This is not the first time that Twitter has taken such a step. In February 2014, Twitter suspended the account of an ISIS member who tweeted images of an amputation.

However, blocking ISIS’s access to social media sites may not have a significant impact on the group’s publicity activities.

This is because it attracts followers from across the Arab and Muslim worlds, so countermeasures taken in Iraq may not have only a limited effect.

It is important to highlight that the group’s online presence does not necessarily equate to its popularity.

The fact that ISIS is using internet and social media applications to promote its message may indicate that it does not have strong organic support.

Regardless of this, the way ISIS is running its social media campaign could be a sign of a shift in approach from being an insular group to actively reaching out to the world.

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. For more reports from BBC Monitoring, click here. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

ISIS and Other Jihadists Groups Recruit from The U.S., Britain, France, Germany (and everywhere else) for Fighting in Iraq, Syria

June 19, 2014
  • Extremists in Syria and Iraq targeting new generation of young American jihadists
  • The FBI are investigating up to 15 Somali-American men believed to have traveled from Minneapolis-St Paul, MN to follow the ISIS call to jihad
  • As many as 50 American jihadists believed to be fighting in the Middle East
  • ‘Outgoing party-lover’ from Minneapolis and father of nine Abdirahmaan Muhumed, 29, confirmed among them
  • Security experts blame social media for ‘blurring lines’ and encouraging people to see themselves as part of jihadist movement 

By Laura Collins


AK-47 aloft, his right hand raised and pointing to the sky, Abdirahmaan Muhumed, 29, stands on a Syrian hillside and stares defiantly into the camera.

Six months ago the father of nine from Minnesota was shooting hoops in Uptown Minneapolis. He was neither overtly religious nor politically vocal.

Today he is one of as many as 15 young Somali -Americans from the Twin Cities currently under investigation by the FBI for having travelled to Syria and Iraq to fight alongside the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

He is one of the latest wave of radicalized young Americans, targeted by ISIS terrorists promoting a chilling phenomenon that security experts have dubbed, ‘Jihad Cool.’

Rap videos, romanticized notions of revolution and adventure and first-hand accounts of the ‘fun’ of guerrilla war are the latest tactics used by militant recruiters as part of what experts have identified as an, ‘intensification of radicalization,’ both in the States and beyond.



In testimonies, many posted on YouTube, leaders, recruiters and seasoned fighters deliver their potent message and, according to recent security research, such online activity is a powerful tool that increasingly, ‘prods an individual towards violence.’

Minnesota militant: Abdirahmaan Muhumed, 29, the family man turned jihadist in a picture posted by him on Facebook and tweeted by journalist Mukhtar Ibrahim with whom he recently communicated. Now believed to be in Syria Muhumed told Mr Ibrahim that he is 'happy' to be considered a terrorist

Minnesota militant: Abdirahmaan Muhumed, 29, the family man turned jihadist in a picture posted by him on Facebook and tweeted by journalist Mukhtar Ibrahim with whom he recently communicated. Now believed to be in Syria Muhumed told Mr Ibrahim that he is ‘happy’ to be considered a terrorist

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'Jihad Cool': Outgoing and partyloving according to his friends, Abdirahmaan Muhumed appeared the polar opposite of a radicalized jihadist. Yet he left for Syria earlier this year and has now proclaimed his fight for the Islamic Empire or Caliphate

ISIS: New information about group’s funding — Institute for the Study of War Analysed “al-Naba”

June 19, 2014
  • The annual publication is called al-Naba, which is Arabic for ‘The News’
  • Reports for 2012 and 2013 were analysed by Institute for the Study of War
  • ISIS claims to have carried out 10,000 operations in Iraq last year alone
  • These included assassinations, bombings and the freeing of prisoners
  • Isis compiles it to attract donors and present themselves as organised
  • Details emerged as new information about group’s funding came to light

By Leon Watson

With its carefully collated facts and figures, it reads like a set of company accounts.

But closer inspection of the 400-page document reveals it is a chilling breakdown of the murderous activities of the fanatics battling for control of Iraq.

For this is the ‘annual report’ of the Al Qaeda-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), designed to demonstrate its power and attract funds from potential donors.

Like any corporate document, it uses computer-generated graphics, details a management strategy, lists performance and targets.

Jihadi terror

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But the jihadists’ statistics chart in numerical and geographical detail its lethal operations – bombings, assassinations, suicide missions and cities taken over.

In the latest edition of ‘al-Naba’ – the News –  covering the 12 months up to last November, ISIS claims to have carried out nearly 10,000 operations in Iraq. That includes 1,000 assassinations, planting more than 4,000 roadside bombs and freeing  hundreds of prisoners.



ISIS even records the number of people who renounced Islam then repented – and contains one sickening category headed ‘apostates run over’.

The report, written in Arabic with a photograph of an ISIS gunman on its cover, has been analysed by the US think-tank, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), which has corroborated much of the information. John Lawrence, of the Washington-based institute said: ‘These numbers are not just purely propaganda figures.’

Taking no prisoners: A man is executed by fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant as the Al Qaeda-inspired militants continue their march towards Baghdad

Details: The Isis report uses computer-generated graphics to detail the group's reign of terror in the Middle East. This chart shows the number of explosive devices the group detonated in 2012 and 2013

Details: The Isis report uses computer-generated graphics to detail the group’s reign of terror in the Middle East. This chart shows the number of explosive devices the group detonated in 2012 and 2013

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ISIS’s aim appears to be to demonstrate its record to potential donors, and ISW says the annual report, the second published in as many years, destroys the myth that the insurgents are a rag-tag band of Islamist militants.

The ISW analysis portrays an organisation ‘functioning as a military rather than a terrorist network’ with a clear political strategy aimed to eventually set up a Sunni sectarian state run under harsh Sharia laws.

Jessica Lewis, director of research at the institute, told the Financial Times: ‘The reports provide measures of performance in the way you roll out details for donors.

‘They affirm that the organisation operates like an army and that it has state-building ambitions.’ The ISW study concludes: ‘This is a military enemy that requires a considered strategy, military as well as involving anti-ISIS Sunni populations, to defeat it, or it will become a permanent fixture in the Middle East.’

The latest annual report does not include the ISIS fanatics’ major gains in recent weeks, where they have swept through northern Iraq, carrying out summary executions. They are now battling government forces close to Baghdad.

This year has also been successful in financial terms for the terror group. Its fighters looted hundreds of millions of pounds from banks in Mosul, Iraq’s second city which was over-run by ISIS last week.

According to the Council on Foreign Relations, ISIS was already extorting taxes from Mosul businesses before its takeover – to the tune of £4million a month.

In its 2013 document, ISIS says it took over eight cities, compared to one the previous year. The ISW warns that the number of attacks reported by ISIS may be exaggerated but month by month, area by area, the document reveals soaring levels of violence.

In 2013, ISIS claims to have executed 1,083 people – almost double the 585 in 2012. Mortar attacks jumped from 359 in 2012 to 607 last year and the number of houses burned or bombed rose from 648 to 1,015.

ISIS massively increased the use of suicide bombers – either wearing bomb vests or driving bomb-laden vehicles – to terrorise Iraqis, with a six-fold increase in the number of attacks to 238. Baghdad bore the brunt of suicide bombers, with an increase from seven to 81 murderous attacks in the capital.

Targeted killings jumped from 16 to 1,047 and are evidence of a disciplined shift in tactics and techniques by ISIS to wrest control of Iraq, says the ISW.

Read more:

Social media like this Twitter feed has played a huge role in recruiting members of Isis especially from overseas

Social media like this Twitter feed has played a huge role in recruiting members of Isis especially from overseas

The road to Baghdad: Fierce fighting is currently taking place at Baqubah, the last major city before the capital, as ISIS militants seize control of vast swathes of northern Iraq

CAUTION: GRAPHIC IMAGES — New Era of Terrorist Barbarity? Mass Murder, Executions, Crucifixion, Torture, Beheading and Kidnapping

June 16, 2014


An image grab taken from a propaganda video uploaded on June 8, 2014, by the jihadist group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) allegedly shows ISIL militants near the central Iraqi city of Tikrit. Militants battled Iraqi security forces in Tikrit on June 11, 2014, after jihadists seized a swathe of the north, including second city Mosul, officials said. Heavy clashes rocked the north of Tikrit, hometown of now executed dictator Saddam Hussein, a provincial councillor said. (AFP PHOTO / HO / ISIL)
An image grab taken from a propaganda video uploaded on June 8, 2014, by the jihadist group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. (AFP PHOTO / HO / ISIL)
  • Kenya attack happened as residents watched World Cup matches last night
  • Authorities have blamed al-Shabab, Somalia’s al-Qaida-linked terror group
  • Assault happened in Mpeketoni which is 60 miles from Somali border
  • Witnesses say gunmen went door to door asking if residents spoke Somali
  • If the answer was no they shot them dead on their doorstep, say locals
  • Images of Iraqi men being shot dead in a ditch by ISIS militants shock world
  • Taliban insurgents hack off fingers of 11 men for voting in general election
  • Search continues for three Israeli teens kidnapped by Hamas in Palestine
  • Former Nigerian president says kidnapped schoolgirls may never be found

By Tara Brady and Matthew Blake

Somali militants who shot dead 48 people in a Kenyan village as they watched the World Cup, went door to door asking residents if they were Muslim or spoke Somali before shooting them dead if the either answer was ‘no’, witnesses have revealed.

The attack in rural Mpeketoni, about 30-miles southwest of the tourist centre of Lamu, came at the end of a weekend of heavy bloodshed that has exposed the world to the shocking depravity of terrorists who appear emboldened by each other’s acts.

The string of bloodthirsty atrocities, spanning two continents from Kenya to Iraq, has raised the spectre of a new era of barbaric terror that is sweeping the globe.


Kenya: Residents look at slain bodies of people killed when unidentified gunmen attacked the coastal Kenyan town of Mpeketoni - the latest in a string of Islamic militant attacks across two continents that have shocked the world

Kenya: Residents look at slain bodies of people killed when unidentified gunmen attacked the coastal Kenyan town of Mpeketoni – the latest in a string of Islamic militant attacks across two continents that have shocked the world

Bodies piled high: Last night's atrocity saw at least 48 people killed when gunmen in two minibuses sped into a town on Kenya's coast, shooting soccer fans gathered to watch a World Cup match in a television hall and targeting hotels and a bank

Bodies piled high: Last night’s atrocity saw at least 48 people killed when gunmen in two minibuses sped into a town on Kenya’s coast, shooting soccer fans gathered to watch a World Cup match in a television hall and targeting hotels and a bank


Carnage: Police said Somalia's Al Shabaab Islamist group was most likely to blame for Sunday night's assault on the town of Mpeketoni

Carnage: Police said Somalia’s Al Shabaab Islamist group was most likely to blame for Sunday night’s assault on the town of Mpeketoni

Horror: Sunday's assault is the worst since last September when Al Shabaab gunmen attacked Nairobi's Westgate shopping mall, leaving 67 people dead

Horror: Sunday’s assault is the worst since last September when Al Shabaab gunmen attacked Nairobi’s Westgate shopping mall, leaving 67 people dead


Sunday's assault is the worst since last September when Al Shabaab gunmen attacked Nairobi's Westgate shopping mall, leaving 67 people dead.

Sunday's assault is the worst since last September when Al Shabaab gunmen attacked Nairobi's Westgate shopping mall, leaving 67 people dead.

About 30 gunmen raced into Mpeketoni in two minibuses, the kind used as public taxis in Kenya, and hit two hotels, a bank and a police station with guns and at least one explosive device

Brutal: Kenyan residents at the scene of one of the bodies of those killed in Mpeketoni. Police said the attackers targeted only men in the village, leaving women and children alone

NYT: Slaughter in Iraq –ISIS Claims Mass Execution of Iraqi Soldiers; Posting Gruesome Photos

June 15, 2014


isis iraq isil

Screen shot from ISIS propaganda video

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The New York Times is reporting that militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria boasted on Twitter Sunday, June 15, 2014, that they had executed 1,700 Iraqi government soldiers, posting gruesome photos to support their claim.

If the claim is true, it would be the worst mass atrocity in either Syria or Iraq in recent years, surpassing even the chemical weapons attacks in the Syrian suburbs of Damascus last year, which killed 1,400 people and were attributed to the Syrian government.

The latest attack, if proved, would also raise the specter of the war in Iraq turning genocidal, particularly because the insurgents boasted that their victims were all Shiites. There were also fears that it could usher in a series of reprisal killings of Shiites and Sunnis, like those seen in the Iraq war in 2005-7.



Islamist militants in Iraq have boasted of slaughtering dozens of Iraqi soldiers captured in the fighting which has consumed the country in recent days.

Pictures posted on a militant website appear to show masked fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) forcing captives to lie down in a shallow ditch.

Further photos appear to show the bodies of the men soaked in blood after being shot.


Isis militants with captured Iraqi soldiers wearing plain clothes after taking over a base in Tikrit, Iraq

Isis militants with captured Iraqi soldiers wearing plain clothes after taking over a base in Tikrit, Iraq


The soldiers were forced to lie face-down in flat bed trucks before being driven away for alaughter

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The captives are herded by the armed men. Iraq's military spokesman, Lt. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi, confirmed the photos' authenticity today and said he was aware of cases of mass murder of captured soldiers

The captives are herded by the armed men. Iraq’s military spokesman, Lt. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi, confirmed the photos’ authenticity today and said he was aware of cases of mass murder of captured soldiers


The soldiers seconds before they are killed. UN human rights chief Navi Pillay warned of 'murder of all kinds' in Iraq

The soldiers seconds before they are killed. UN human rights chief Navi Pillay warned of ‘murder of all kinds’ in Iraq


The soldiers are executed where they lie in a shallow ditch

The soldiers are executed where they lie in a shallow ditch

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 ISIL execution photos iraq




Shocking images have emerged of the mass execution of Iraqi soldiers detained by militants from the jihadist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

The photographs, released on one of ISIL’s own Twitter feeds, show dozens of Shiite soldiers being driven in trucks to a rural area where they are forced to lie facedown in the dirt with their hands tied behind their back.

In the next frame, a Sunni militiaman appears to execute them in a hail of automatic gunfire that kicks up the dirt near their heads. The next frame shows a pile of lifeless bodies.

Earlier on Saturday ISIL announced on Twitter it had executed 1700 Shiite soldiers, but human rights groups have not yet been able to confirm their claim.

The release of these images – which have also not been verified but appear to be legitimate – indicates the Sunni militants have killed many soldiers, possibly near the town of Tikrit, 150 kilometres north of the capital Baghdad.

An ISIL-aligned account by the name of @w_salahadden boasts about 27,800 followers and has tweeted just over 1,000 times in recent months.

In one of the most recent posts, a flattened body lies face down on a footpath, coagulated streams of dark blood snaking down the gutter. Two men purported to be members of ISIS are standing over the body. One has a hand reaching towards the corpse, another his foot resting on it.

Twitter has been locked in a pitched battle with social media-savvy ISIL members for almost a week. It has already shut down a number of accounts but several remain active. Publishing violent images and messages on Twitter violates the site’s policies. Any user can flag content as offensive.

The Iraqi Ministry of Communications has reportedly shut down social media in Baghdad and other parts of the country, apparently in an attempt to prevent ISIL from using its public relations blitz on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to promote its violent activities.

This is not the first time the popular micro-blogging site has been used to cover violence.

In September 2013, terrorists attacking Kenya’s West Gate Mall in Nairobi sent frequent updates to the social media site, which was scrambling to shut down the accounts as more sprung up.

Militants seized Tikrit last week after first taking control of Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul, in a lightening-fast offensive that prompted Iraqi soldiers to lay down their weapons and immediately cede control of the city.

Human rights groups say up to 500,000 people have fled Mosul since ISIL took control, fearing both the strict Islamic state ISIL is attempting to establish as well as the retaliatory air strikes they believe the government of Nouri al-Maliki is preparing to launch.

The International Organisation for Migration estimated another 40,000 people had fled Tikrit and Samarra following militant attacks.

The offensive is part of ISIL’s plan to establish a Sunni Islamist state that runs from Iraq across the border into Syria and beyond.

On Thursday, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, expressed alarm at reports of summary executions and extrajudicial killings, calling for an immediate cessation of violence.”There will be particular scrutiny of the conduct of ISIL, given their well-documented record of committing grave international crimes in Syria,” she added, noting that the Commission of Inquiry on Syria has accused ISIL of committing crimes against humanity in Raqqa, Idlib and Aleppo.

– Sydney Morning Herald


ISIS has so far attacked Mosul, Baiji, Tikrit, Samarra and are now heading to Baghdad



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