The Islamic State marked the eve of the U.S. election with a new video urging Muslims everywhere to conduct attacks at home as ISIS fighters battle to hold Mosul.
The commander of U.S. ground operations against ISIS in Iraq and Syria warned last month that the offensive to take back Mosul could spark a large attack by the terror group elsewhere in reaction to their land losses.
“I expect that they’re going to go into an insurgency mode and they’ll try to do these high-profile, spectacular attacks to draw attention away from the losses that they’re suffering,” said Maj. Gen. Gary Volesky, commander of Combined Joint Forces’ Land Component Command for Operation Inherent Resolve and commander of the 101st Airborne. “I mean, we’ve seen them do that before. When they lose terrain in Iraq, they try to do a spectacular attack to tell everybody, you know, they’re still a relevant organization.”
The new 20-minute video released Monday from ISIS’ al-Khayr province, which is located in Syria along the Iraq border, is titled “The Impenetrable Fortress” and comes just after the U.S.- backed Syrian Democratic Forces launched their offensive to liberate ISIS’ capital, Raqqa.
The video opens with various battle scenes around Mosul, executions of soldiers and an ISIS fighter weeping when talking about jihad.
Pictures are shown of suicide bombers strapping on belts and of late PR chief Abu Muhammad al-Adnani and al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zaraqawi.
In the second half of the video, scenes shown include NATO soldiers and an airport tarmac with planes from Qantas Airlines and Garuda Indonesia. The airport shown resembles Melbourne, Australia, a location to which Garuda flies.
Smoky footage from inside the terminal after the Brussels Airport attack in March is also shown.
After featuring the airport, St. Paul’s Cathedral in Melbourne, an Anglican church with a “welcome refugees” banner hanging in front, is shown in the video.
The video includes Pope Francis’ visit to the White House last year, with the pontiff strolling and talking with President Obama. Saudi leaders are also shown; ISIS’ self-proclaimed caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi called on jihadists to attack Saudi Arabia and Turkey in an audio message last week.
If those wanting to join ISIS can’t make it to Iraq or Syria, he said, they should head to Libya or other ISIS provinces around the globe. Baghdadi addressed jihadists in the provinces, including Afghanistan, the Caucasus, Indonesia, Philippines, Sinai, Bangladesh, West Africa and North Africa, as the “base of the caliphate,” and warned that “kuffar [disbelievers] will try to split you.” He told them to have patience and not be discouraged by the loss of leaders as they can be replaced.
The video comes just a couple of days after ISIS released a seven-page voter guide warning that both candidates will “undoubtedly” break their election promises and U.S. Muslims should skip the voting booth — and that Americans who do vote are “more deserving” of being killed than soldiers.
The release also follows news that ISIS’ top propaganda filmmaker was killed in an airstrike.
“ISIS media outlets have announced the killing of Shehata al-Masry, the group’s moviemaker, in an airstrike on a main road near al-Baaj, west of Mosul, along with two of his aides,” Iraqi satellite channel Alsumaria News reported. “Though Al-Masry was not well-known before, he seemed to have been an important personality working in the shadow.” The group has additional propaganda hires to carry on with their movies.
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