An al-Qaeda official has warned that the West should prepare itself for more ‘lone wolf’ attacks as the latest edition of the terrorist organisation’s magazine singles out UK airliners British Airways and easyJet as targets.
Inspire magazine, founded in 2010, is purportedly published by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and seeks to influence possible Islamic radicals through publishing interviews and instructions with leading extremists in English.
Writing in the latest edition, published on Christmas Eve, Sheikh Nasr Al-Anisi tells readers ‘lone wolves’ are the “West’s worst nightmare. They instill [sic] fear around the world.”
He claims: “Because some deaths are caused by a thousand cuts. And a small blood clot paralyses the whole body.”
Al-Anisi added: “Allah the Almighty has facilitated for them capabilities that are absent to other Muslims: reaching the heart of the enemy’s land and other targets.”
Calling on “lone mujahideen” the magazine carefully guides would-be bombers through a number of steps to create a bomb, evade security, and publicise their actions – before pointing possible recruits in the direction of acceptable targets.
British Airways and easyJet have both been singled out, with the author noting on BA: “The flag carrier airline of the United Kingdom. It is the largest airline in the UK based on fleet size, international flights and international destinations.”
They add that easyJet is a “low-cost carrier, hence has a large number of passengers.”
In statements to The Independent both airlines declined to discuss security, separately stating that the safety and security of their passengers and crew was their highest priority.
A Q&A published in the magazine with an individual known as the “AQ-Chef” also stated his view on lone wolf attacks: “Lone Jihād against the West, especially when intensified, will create a state of terror, anxiety, public resentment and complaint against the governments and policies that brought about lone Jihād.”
The individual offers a step-by-step guide to creating a bomb in their kitchens (a continuation of the 2010 article that first saw the magazine gain notoriety in the west) and describing individuals using their home kitchens to overcome airport security as a "double success".
Alongside British airliners, the magazine also names a number of high profile American carriers, as well as French targets. It notes that American flights are the top target, with British carriers next and French following that.
There have been a number of suspected ‘lone wolf’ attacks in recent months, possibly including the Islamic convert Zale Thompson in New York. Thompson was killed after charging four police officers armed with a hatchet and injuring two of them.
Another attack in Canada outside the country’s parliament in Ottawa resulted in the death of a reservist soldier and ended in a shoot-out after an Islamic convert Michael Zehaf-Bibeau opened fire.