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Islamic State calls for attacks on Arab states, shifting focus from West

Spokesman for jihadist terror group says there is no difference between attacking Palestinians, Saudi Arabia, Iran, or their ‘American Crusader allies’

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Iraqi forces are seen in November 4, 2017, in the center of the Iraqi city of Qaim, after retaking it from Islamic State jihadists a day earlier. (AFP Photo/Ahmad al-Rubaye)
Iraqi forces are seen in November 4, 2017, in the center of the Iraqi city of Qaim, after retaking it from Islamic State jihadists a day earlier. (AFP Photo/Ahmad al-Rubaye)

The official Islamic State spokesman on Sunday published a call for the jihadist terror group’s adherents to focus their attacks on Arab states, diverging from his previous policy of urging assaults on Western targets.

In an audio-recording that ran for nearly an hour, Abu Hassan al-Muhajir said there was no difference between fighting the Palestinians, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, or Iran and “their American Crusader allies, or the Russians or the Europeans,” the New York Times reported along with an English-language translation of some of his comments.

Arab states should be attacked because they are “apostates,” Muhajir said, using the terror group’s term to describe Sunni Muslims who do not follow its extremist version of the faith.

The Arabs were in fact worse than Western nations, as they were “more fierce and vicious against Islam.”

He also issued a warning over Iraq’s upcoming parliamentary election on May 12, saying “the polling centers and those inside are a target for our swords. So stay away from them and do not walk near them.”

Muhajir’s last speech was released in June 2017, when he called for lone-wolf attacks — assaults not directed by an official organization — in Europe and North America.

The Islamic State group has lost some 97 percent of the territory it seized for its self-proclaimed caliphate in Iraq and Syria in 2014.

Muhajir replaced the previous US spokesman Abu Mohammad al-Adnani who was killed in Syria in 2016, apparently in a US airstrike.

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