The magazine that helped the Tsarnaev brothers pull off the Boston Marathon bombing – while also purporting to teach wannabe jihadis how to “make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom” – is homing in on its next target: America’s crumbling transportation infrastructure.
“Inspire,” the Al Qaeda propaganda magazine, will dedicate its next issue to America’s passenger and commuter trains. The focus on rail transportation comes at a time of great anxiety over the scarcity of resources devoted to repairing America’s vulnerable trains, which is advantageous to a group aiming to reestablish maximum relevance.
Derailments in the Bronx, Philadelphia and New York City’s Penn Station have made commuters anxious. The effort to rescue New York City’s deteriorating subway system has been one of the most closely followed stories of the summer, according to the Washington Times.
“Issue No. 17 is headlined, “Train Derail Operations,” and will spell out ways to create rail disasters in a transportation system that lacks the stiff security procedures of airline travel.
It’s competing Sunni extremists group, the Islamic State, for more than a year has advocated using vehicles to mow down innocents. Its murderous followers have weaponized vehicles in Nice, Berlin and London, creating hundreds of deaths and injuries.
Adding trains to the terrorist’s priority list would put at risk virtually every mode of transportation and placed added pressure on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.”
Furthermore, two of the deadliest terror attacks in European history were carried out on public commuter trains. The 7/7 London tube bombing, when four suicide bombers killed 52 people on the London Underground. And the Madrid train bombings, when a terrorist cell linked to Al Qaeda killed nearly 200 people on a Madrid Cercanias train. Now Al Qaeda wants to replicate those attacks in the US.
A “trailer” for the new issue was being shared on the social-media app Telegram, a popular venue for sharing extremist content that has often been used by terrorists for recruiting.
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) put out a report on Friday saying al Qaeda has teased the Inspire articles with a trailer appearing on Telegram app channels operated by its fans.
“The trailer highlights that derailments are simple to design using easily available materials, that such a planned attack can be hard to detect, and that the outcome can substantially damage a country’s transportation sector and the Western economy in general,” MEMRI said.
The New York City subway is featured in the promotional video, which depicts derailment devices that the narrator says could easily be attached to tracks, causing a derailment.
“Simple to design,” the promo says in English script, mentioning “America” several times. “Made from readily available materials. Hard to be detached. Cause great destruction to the Western economy and transportation sector.”
The magazine’s push is part of a rebranding effort for Al Qaeda as the group seeks to regain the upper hand in recruiting from ISIS, which was recently driven out of Mosul, and has also suffered other setbacks like the death (and miraculous rebirth) of the group’s founder, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Al Qaeda, which is trying to reassert itself by forging alliances with other jihadist groups outside its home in South Yemen, wants to revive its formerly fearsome reputation…and the most effective method would involve an attack.