Al-Qaeda urges ‘lone wolf’ attacks on airliners
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Al-Qaeda urges ‘lone wolf’ attacks on airliners

Jihadist group’s magazine encourages operatives to target commercial airlines, praises US terror attacks

A computer-generated image of a commercial airliner crashing into the ground. The video was produced by al-Qaeda affiliates in support of the December 2014 issue of Inspire magazine, a jihadist publication that promotes international terrorism. (screen capture: YouTube)
A computer-generated image of a commercial airliner crashing into the ground. The video was produced by al-Qaeda affiliates in support of the December 2014 issue of Inspire magazine, a jihadist publication that promotes international terrorism. (screen capture: YouTube)

Al-Qaeda has called for “lone-wolf” terror attacks against a number of major airlines.

The winter issue of Inspire, an English-language online magazine edited by the jihadist group, urges that bombs be detonated on the planes of several preeminent US commercial airline companies — American Airlines, Delta, United and Continental — in an effort to gain publicity and “crush the enemy’s economy,” according to a report published Saturday by The Guardian, a British newspaper.

The issue, the 13th released by the group responsible for the 9/11 attacks, also advised rogue terrorists as to the prime altitude for detonating explosives; and encouraged them to blow up commercial aircraft above land, causing additional damage to civilian populations below.

In cases where an attack upon a US airline is not achievable, the magazine suggests British or French alternatives such as British Airways, easyJet or Air France or KLM — a Dutch airline that merged with Air France in 2003, according to a blog operated by the Anti-Defamation League, a US-based racism watchdog group.

“The first priority and the main focus should be on America, then the United Kingdom, then France… This goes on with the NATO countries as per the known order,” the magazine read.

The publication went on to praise lone-wolf terrorists because of their ability to stay undetected: “[They are] hard to uncover, because none knows him but Allah. He has no relationship with any group or any individuals.”

Zale Thompson, an ex-US Navy serviceman, was heralded as a “splendid” example of a lone wolf after the reclusive Muslim convert attacked a group of New York City police officers in October with an axe, injuring one seriously before being shot to death.

Zale Thompson shown in surveillance footage wielding a hatchet before attacking police in New York (screen capture: YouTube)
Zale Thompson shown in surveillance footage wielding a hatchet before attacking police in New York. (screen capture: YouTube)

Authorities confirmed that attack was an act of terror, although Thompson was not known to be affiliated with any organized terror groups.

The magazine also commended the April 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, as well as Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian jihadist who was given a life sentence after attempting to blow up Northwest Airlines Flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit in December 2009 with an explosive device hidden in his underwear.

Inspire is published by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a group that actively engages in “open source jihad” by recruiting operatives on the Internet.

The magazine was founded by Samir Khan, a Saudi-born Pakistani-American who grew up in New York State. Khan, a US citizen, was killed in 2011 by a US drone strike in Yemen along with ranking al-Qaeda member Anwar al-Awlaki, a fellow US citizen from New Mexico.

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