The Islamic State claimed in the latest edition of its English-language magazine that a nuclear attack by jihadists on the United States is “infinitely more possible today” than it was a year ago.
The article, published last week in the radical Islamist group’s English magazine Dabiq and attributed to hostage British photojournalist John Cantlie, claimed the Islamic State has billions of dollars with which it could “purchase a nuclear device through weapons dealers with links to corrupt officials” in Pakistan.
Cantlie has been held captive by the Islamic State for over two years and has been used as a mouthpiece for the organization in a series of propaganda films published online titled “Lend Me Your Ears.”
Last week’s article, titled “The Perfect Storm,” suggested a “hypothetical” situation in which IS would transport the nuclear weapon to Libya, then across the Atlantic and covertly into the United States through a smuggling tunnel under the border with Mexico.
“Perhaps such a scenario is far-fetched but it’s the sum of all fears for Western intelligence agencies and it’s infinitely more possible today than it was just one year ago,” the article claimed.
“The Islamic State make no secret of the fact they have every intention of attacking America on its home soil and they’re not going to mince about with two mujāhidīn taking down a dozen casualties if it originates from the Caliphate,” the propaganda magazine said. “They’ll be looking to do something big, something that would make any past operation look like a squirrel shoot, and the more groups that pledge allegiance the more possible it becomes to pull off something truly epic.”
The article in Cantlie’s name called the US-led coalition’s campaign against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq a “failed crusade” and said that “the West can never win this war.”
On Saturday IS claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at a Shiite mosque in Saudi Arabia that killed at least 21 people and wounded 81 — the kingdom’s deadliest militant assault since a 2004 al-Qaeda attack on foreign worker compounds.
In late April, Saudi officials arrested 93 people they said were involved in an Islamic State plot to attack the US Embassy and other targets.
IS currently controls around half of Syria and a third of Iraq. Affiliates of the group have established footholds in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and Libya.
Other acknowledged IS affiliates exist in Yemen and in Nigeria, where the Islamic militant group Boko Haram pledged its allegiance to the Islamic State group and had that pledge accepted on official IS media in March. Rumors of Islamic State group activity persist in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. On Saturday, the commander of international forces in Afghanistan, Gen. John Campbell, said Islamic State loyalists were actively recruiting and gaining strength but the group was not yet operational.
AP contributed to this report.