By: Ben Kew
A pro-Islamic State (ISIS) Telegram channel has urged lone-wolf jihadists in the United States to target relief centers in Houston, Texas, housing people displaced by Hurricane Harvey, according to a report from SITE Intelligence Group.
“To all the LM’s (lone warriors) in the U.S., pop down to Houston and drop in at any of the relief centers housing displaced people from the Houston floods, make sure to bring lots of supplies/gadgets/toys to see if you can help put any kuffs (disbelievers) out of their misery,” the message reads, followed by a series of emojis depicting explosions, knives, bombs, guns and medical symbols.
The hurricane, which primarily affected Texas—as well as parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kentucky—has forced thousands of people to evacuate their homes and take shelter in relief centers. It is estimated to have caused $180 billion in damage and claimed the lives of at least 60 people.
In the past few days, Islamic State channels have also posted calls for attacks on Europe, Russia, and the United States, on the occasion of the Islamic “Sacrifice Feast” Eid al Adha. Meanwhile, another message urges supporters to use chemical weapons by injecting cyanide into products in Western supermarkets.
It is not the first time that the group called for attacks against American civilians. In November 2016, the group called for the “slaughter” of civilians taking part in the presidential election and urged supporters to “make this year’s US presidential election a dreadful calamity like no other to have struck America throughout its pathetic history.”
Fortunately, no terrorist incidents were reported.
The group has also repeatedly urged followers to conduct “lone wolf” attacks, by targeting busy areas with vehicles or conducting cyber attacks through hacking.
It is also not the first time that ISIS has sanctioned the use of chemical weapons. In May, a report from the Times of London found that the organization had conducted chemical weapons experiments on live human beings.
Meanwhile, in March, the organization also used a “blistering chemical agent” against women and children in an attempt to slow the liberation of its regional capital by the U.S. led coalition.