ISIS promotes new tactic in taking westerners hostages

ISIS is at it again with their latest issue of their ‘Rumiyah’ magazine in which they have begun promoting a new angle to take westerners hostage for the sole purpose of executing them and giving ISIS more publicity, the Middle East Media Research Institute ‎ (MEMRI) reported.

Issue nine of Rumiyah, released online on May 4, 2017, features various suggestions to the group’s sympathizers living in the West to kill non-Muslims amongst them.

MEMRI reports:

One of the suggested tactics – taking Westerners hostage for the sole purpose of executing them thereafter – is detailed in the issue, and signals a new way through which ISIS is attempting to recruit Muslims in the West to carry out acts of violence on its behalf. The suggestion appeared in the magazine’s “Just Terror Tactics,” a recurring section of the magazine which had previously suggested other killing methods like arson, stabbing, and the use of trucks to “mow down” targets.

On its face, the hostage taking tactic is nothing new to terrorist groups. In fact, the last decade is full of incidents where Westerners were taken hostages by jihadist groups from the Sahel to the Philippines – however, the main purpose of these operations was either prisoner exchange or ransom. Al-Qaeda itself had called repeatedly to kidnap Westerners, for example, in an effort to bring about the release of the late “Blind Sheikh,” Omar ‘Abd Al-Rahman.

ISIS’s call has an entirely different purpose, however. According to it, “The objective of hostage-taking in the lands of dis­belief [i.e. West] – and specifically in relation to just terror op­erations – is not to hold large numbers of the kuffar hostage in order to negotiate one’s demands. Rather, the objective is to create as much carnage and terror as one possibly can until Allah decrees his appointed time and the enemies of Allah storm his location or succeed in killing him [i.e. the attacker].”

ISIS goes on to detailing the best locations and scenarios for taking hostages, while reiterating the notion that any undertaken operation that aims to trap people within any confined space is not meant at taking those people as hostages per se, but at killing as many of them as possible and as fast as possible before authorities arrive. Any remaining people, it notes, can then be used as human shields or to add up to the terror effect of the operation until the inevitable occurs (i.e. authorities storm the place, attacker is killed, etc.). “It is also essential for one to know that the aim is to kill as many kuffar as one possibly can, and as quickly as one can before the initial police response.

After kill­ing those present one should keep a few of his victims alive as hostages to be used as human shields against the anticipated response of the kafir armed forces.”

ISIS’s image and any publicity gain from such operations is highlighted as well, where the article notes that after the initial killing spree comes to an end, any remaining “hostages” can then be used to buy more time to draw more attention to the attack and that it was carried out by a “soldier” of the Islamic State.

It says: “However, in order for the operation to gain wide pub­licity and more effectively plant terror into the hearts of the disbelievers, one can keep some of his victim’s alive and restrained, making for a lengthier and drawn-out hostage scenario. One may then notify the authorities, explaining to them that he is a soldier of the Islamic State and informing them of what he has just done.”

More at the Middle East Media Research Institute ‎here.

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Fmr. Sgt, USAF Intelligence, NSA/DOD; Studied Cryptology at Community College of the Air Force

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