Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) released the 14th issue of its English magazine, “Inspire,” with a thematic focus on “Assassination Operations.” The 88-page issue was released on September 9, 2015 in both English and Arabic.
“It is not for nothing that AQAP has released this magazine just two days before the anniversary of 9/11,” says SITE Director Rita Katz. “The release serves as inspiration and a practical resource for lone wolves or cells that might want to commit attacks on that day.”
The issue included several references to other articles (both in this issue and previous in previous ones), projecting a comprehensive source of information for every angle of an assassination—from selecting a target to executing the attack.
Many of the articles in this issue touted the Charlie Hebdo attack, which was relevantly claimed by AQAP on January 14, 2015. Attackers Cherif and Said Kouachi, to that point, were frequently referred to as examples by which to perform an attack. The magazine also attempted to exploit racial issues in America with one article, which urged African Americans to assassinate “racist politicians.”
Summaries of stand-out articles and urgent material in the issue follow.
Exploiting Racial Issues
The article, “The Blacks in America,” attributed to previous Inspire contributor Abu Abdillah Almoravid, exploited racial tensions in the U.S. as a means to inspire assassinations of politicians. Almoravid touched on the widely reported killings of Michael Brown and Freddy Gray, as well as white supremacist Dylan Roof’s shooting of a prayer service at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. He then offered Islam as an alternative to racial injustice, stating, “We the Mujahideen are a portion of the Muslim Ummah, we do not accept any type of oppression against our Muslim brothers among the Afro-Americans, or even the non-Muslims.”
The article then spanned slavery’s role in America’s founding, the Civil War, Jim Crow laws, and other historical elements of African Americans oppression and compared them to the struggles of Muslims, then offering:
This is a historic chance for you to review your actions, and to take a stand against these crimes in the face of these fanatics. As you condemn you will be condemned. And as the say, whoever accepts injustice will be the first to be burnt by its fire.
The article then suggested several points to African Americans, which included forming political groups to protest aggression toward Muslims and to “move out of big cities that represent the economy, politics or military strength of America like New York and Washington.”
The end of the article called for both violent and nonviolent action toward governments. Almoravid suggested that prospects approach the former option by “forming small groups that will be responsible for assassinating, targeting these racist politicians.”
An article titled “Assassinations – Field Tactics” provided a list of assassination targets selected to “bring instability to the American economy.” The targets included American “economic personalities” Ben Bernanke and James Shiller, as well as “wealthy entrepreneurs and company owners,” which included Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Oracle CEO Lawrence Joseph, the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson, and Michael Bloomberg.
Notable is that the list included Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, who died in 1992. However, the list provided the net worth and a picture of his son, Jim Walton.
References to Charlie Hebdo
In the “Charlie Hebdo Military Analysis” article, author Ibrahim Ibn Hassan al-A’siri categorized the Charlie Hebdo attack as an assassination, and implied credit of the attack’s inspiration to a poster of targets released in the tenth issue of Inspire in February of 2013. The article showed a version of the poster with killed Charlie Hebdo caricaturist Stephane Charbonnier:
The article then detailed the operation, stating, “The planning and initiation of the operation was in the Arabian Peninsula. The target was inside the heart and protection of the French intelligence system.” It also credited AQ with providing attacker Said Kouachi with the “necessary training” for the attack, and followed up by detailing his target and weapon selections.
The article ended by referring prospective lone wolves to Inspire’s “Open Source Jihad” bomb-making articles:
The brothers at "Open Source Jihad" will give technical details as how to execute an operation similar to this, and in a manner that is convenient for a "Lone Mujaheed". Until he is able to execute a similar operation, that has made pleased the Muslims and angered the disbilievers [sic].
Homemade Hand Grenades
The Inspire issue also featured a guide by the “AQ-Chef” titled, “Designing a Timed Hand Grenade.” The manual broke the process down and listed materials needed to make such a weapon, accompanied by pictures of each step.
The manual also provided several safety notes, including experiments to make sure one’s product works and things to look out for in the explosion.
Perhaps speaking to the Inspire issue’s theme more than any of the other articles was “Assassination Operations.” The guide, attributed to “The External Operation Team,” broke down the processes of selecting targets and suggested that prospective attackers reference the aforementioned “Assassinations – Field Tactics” article when doing so.
The article also specified variables to prepare for in an assassination operation, such as “the number of guards” on duty at a target’s workplace, and which kind of methods different weapons facilitate.
The Inspire issue was released on the same day as IS’ 11th issue of Dabiq magazine.