Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Al-Qaeda calls for U.S. rail and transit attacks

Written by 
A MEMRI-provided image of an article spread as it appears in the latest issue of AQAP's Inspire magazine. A MEMRI-provided image of an article spread as it appears in the latest issue of AQAP's Inspire magazine. MEMRI

The latest issue of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's (AQAP) magazine, Inspire, calls for attacks on U.S. railways and transit systems and goes as far as including many steps to help carry out acts of terror.

A summary of the 100-page issue was provided by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), a non-profit which translates many publications originating in the Middle East to English. MEMRI says the issue was published on Aug. 13 and was distributed by the Telegram channel of AQAP and other pro-Al-Qaeda channels.

It seems the U.S. rail system is being targeted for two reasons: Perceived lax security and perceived ease at which single operatives can carry out an attack.

This edition of the magazine is the first published in nine months and the editor, Yahya Ibrahim, writes that the idea of derailing trains has been researched for more than a year in order to "come up with a profound yet simple method" that would allow a single terrorist to cause destruction.

The magazine includes an article by AQAP's chief bomb-maker who explains targeting mass transportation will undermine public security in addition to causing economic harm. One of the more disturbing articles, written by "AQ Chef" provides instructions for a DIY derailing tool, as well as instructions on where it should be placed on the tracks. Additionally, the article specifies many busy passenger routes across the country and provides a map.

The U.S. Transportation Safety Administration said it was aware of the magazine and had been in contact with freight and passenger rail providers on how to protect their systems.

Additionally, the New York Police Department's Counterterrorism unit sent a series of tweets addressing the magazine's publication:

"We've known about the content & threats presented in the current issue of AQAP's Inspire 17 prior to its release...

"Our assets are strategically deployed throughout the city & can redeploy at a moment's notice, based on up-to-the-minute intelligence...

"We continuously monitor intelligence reports from around the world and how they may affect New York City...

"Our robust multi-layered counterterrorism apparatus is designed to protect our air, land, waterways and railways in #NYC"