Homeland Security

ISIS Guide Tells Jihadists to Use 'Accessible' Yet 'Brutal' Poisonous Plants

(ISIS video screenshot of a suicide bomber in Iraq)

A new guide being circulated among ISIS supporters online directs lone jihadists to construct explosives from “simple things” like rat poison and use poisonous plants to inflict casualties.

The guide says it’s from the Nashir Media Foundation, which last month circulated different terror plot suggestions including creating hazardous driving conditions. This month, after the assassination of ISIS’ No. 2 Abu Mohammad al-Adnani, the Nashir Media Foundation issued a statement to jihadists “specifically in France” to “delete anything related to the Islamic state from your devices” to avoid detection and “hurry in your operations before it becomes too late.”

The “important” new guide, as touted by one ISIS supporter who tweeted the cheat sheet, pulls together past suggestions of poison and bombmaking recipes into a comprehensive guide to “fight back” against “the infidel West.” It was distributed with an image of a howling wolf against a forest backdrop.

One bomb recipe includes, in part, sulfuric acid, rat poison and screws, with the detonator needing a small bulb bought in a “kids toy or an electrical shop,” a car battery and a length of wire. Ingredient swap suggestions include “preferably sharp” nails and bolts to inflict greater harm. Jihadists are advised to encase the device in plaster, leaving the wires feeding out, and detonate the device in a place with traffic.

Other bomb ingredients discussed include fertilizer, Vaseline, citric acid, potassium chloride and sodium bicarbonate. Even hair dye containing ammonium hydroxide is discussed as a bomb ingredient, as well as acetone in nail-polish remover, hydrogen peroxide, coal powder, phosphorus insecticides, glycerin in skin moisturizers and sulfur powder found “in stores that sell agricultural materials.”

They also suggest jihadists try the garden for effective weapons, such as the castor seeds that harbor ricin. The guide underscores that children especially have “weak resistance” to the naturally occurring poison. They discuss extraction methods once the jihadists are able to obtain seeds.

But the botanical advice doesn’t stop there — lone jihadists are advised to explore the wide range of toxic plants that are “accessible to everyone.”

That includes Atropa belladonna, also known as deadly nightshade, with a note that jihadists can commonly find it in home gardens because of its “beautiful shape.” Solanum dulcamara, or bitter nightshade, which is native to Europe and Asia and invasive in North America, is recommended for its “troublesome properties” — but the ISIS guide notes it’s “a rare reason of death.”

Jihadists are also advised to be on the watch — or sniff the wind — for Hyoscyamus niger, known as henbane or stinking nightshade. “The entire plant is extremely toxic… used sometimes in the commission of crimes,” states the guide. Laburnum anagyroides, or the golden chain tree, is another recommended botanical poison, as well as the native British Taxus baccata, or English yew.

The guide doesn’t give jihadists many suggestions on how to poison people with poisonous plants, but rounds up their list with extraction techniques for the Strychnos Nux-vomica, or strychnine tree. They warn that “even 1% of the killer in a glass of water” can be detected due to strychnine’s bitter taste, but laud it as “one of the most brutal kinds of poison.”

The guide was distributed on file-sharing sites and through social media. One ISIS member who tweeted the list Tuesday was suspended from Twitter the same day, though some others seen promoting the guide remained on the site.