Al Qaeda launches 1st public campaign in 4 years to encourage lone wolf terrorist attacks

ByChuck Goudie and Barb Markoff, Christine Tressel and Ross Weidner WLS logo
Friday, July 30, 2021
Al Qaeda launches new media campaign to encourage lone wolf terrorist attacks
EMBED <>More Videos

Al Qaeda is encouraging lone wolf operatives to attack American targets in their first public media campaign in more than four years.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- More than 10 years ago the I-Team uncovered Al Qaeda's plans for "Open Source" Jihad against the Chicago skyline. Now they're back with a new high-gloss publication for radical followers and a new video, encouraging violent attacks on America by one-person jihadists and lone wolf terrorist.

Hundreds of people were killed and injured by truck-ramming attacks from terrorist groups in the past decade. The one-man rampages were encouraged by Al Qaeda and ISIS leaders targeting cities worldwide.

The playbook for those attacks date to a more than 10-year-old edition of al Qaeda's "Inspire Magazine," set with Chicago as a backdrop and a pick-up truck as "the ultimate mowing machine."

But there have not been any public marching orders for lone-wolf jihadists since 2017. Until now. The new edition of Inspire is once again calling for attacks on Americans in the U.S., and praising recent mass murderers who claimed to have been fighting for the jihadist cause. That includes Ahmad Al-Issa, an American from Syria who is accused of killing 10 people last March in a Colorado grocery store.

In addition to their usual anti-American terrorist rhetoric, jihadists are urged to obtain so-called "ghost guns" to commit violence. The components for these do-it-yourself gun kits are readily available on the internet, require no authorization to buy or sell, and are nearly impossible for authorities to trace.

Al Qaeda has also released its first video in several years, titled "America Burns." Still frames from the campaign show an apparent attack on U.S. aircraft, and cite American political divisions, street violence and racial tension, apparently aimed to make the nation look like it's imploding.

Federal law enforcement has shifted some resources, manpower and money away from foreign counter-terror investigations in recent years. As domestic terrorism groups became more of a threat, the federal focus also turned more inward, even as homeland security officials warned it wasn't wise to ignore the voices from overseas just because they weren't as loud.