Chicago plot outlined in terrorist magazine

September 30, 2011 4:50:59 PM PDT
An American airstrike in Yemen Friday killed two top Al Qaeda figures that had plans to target Chicago. U.S. authorities considered one of them, Anwar al-Awlaki, to be the most dangerous man in the world.

It's been almost one year since the I-team revealed specific new plans by Al-Qaeda to unleash individual attacks on American cities, empowering so called one-man jihads that would take no specific official order from terrorist leaders.

Chicago was the backdrop for this plot, laid out last fall in a new online Al Qaeda magazine whose editor was one of the terrorists killed in Friday's drone attack. Samir Khan, a former North Carolina resident who left the U.S. for Yemen in 2009, proclaimed himself a traitor to his homeland and went to work for Al Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula, now considered the organizations most-radical wing.

Khan began "Inspire," the Al Qaeda magazine. As we first reported last October, Khan used a photo of Chicago's Magnificent Mile as the scene for an article, urging Islamists to wage their own holy war on America.

The magazine depicted a pick-up truck as "the ultimate mowing machine, not to mow grass, but to mow down the enemies of Allah." The magazine instructed followers to "weld on steel blades" to the front of the truck, drive to "the most crowded location, pick up as much speed as you can and strike as many people as possible in your first run."

Samir was with Al Qaeda operations boss Anwar al-Awlaki in a convoy today when the U.S. attacked with missiles, killing both men.

"Bin Laden's death had global ramifications for the transnational terror movement," said Sajjan Gohel of the Asia Pacific Foundation. "Anwar al-Awlaki's death will have equal ramifications for lone wolf terrorism."

The most recent edition of "Inspire" magazine was published just two days ago. The cover story, entitled "the greatest special operation of all time, the expeditions of Washington, D.C. and New York" touted Al Qaida's jetliner attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

The article by Samir is featured, citing American blunders in the war on terror and touting media propaganda as a weapon to win the hearts and minds.

Al-Awlaki also has an advertisement for the magazine's next edition, a promised manifesto "targeting the populations of countries that are at war with the Muslims."

Whether he wrote that article prior to being blown up is not known. With both men struck dead in Friday's drone attack, it is unclear whether the publication can go on.

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