In its review of the London attack, Al-Qaeda said the car ramming and stabbing carried out by a native Briton helped “prove to the whole world that security procedures” like immigration controls or Brexit are “not a means of safety.”
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which publishes and distributes online the English-language Inspire magazine that has given jihadists tips and tricks for years, has been issuing magazine supplementals after key attacks — whether they were committed by ISIS, al-Qaeda or any other group — to study how the attack unfolded and what future jihadists can learn from what the terrorists did wrong or right.
This time AQAP’s “Lone Jihad Guide Team” reviewed the March 22 ISIS-claimed attack in which Khalid Masood, a 52-year-old convert to Islam born in Kent, killed four pedestrians and injured dozens more with his car on Westminster Bridge before crashing into the fence at Westminster Palace and stabbing to death an unarmed police officer. Masood was shot to death by a responding officer.
Among those killed was one American, Utah resident Kurt Cochran, who was celebrating his 25th wedding anniversary on a European trip with his wife, Melissa.
“This operation came after the British government announced that it thwarted a number of ‘terrorist’ operations, therefore asserting its excellent capabilities and security preparedness. Britain had taken a number of preventative security measures, most notable of them being immigration and exit procedures within the European Union,” the Inspire guide said. “However, this operation smashed all these measures, to prove to the whole world that security procedures are not a solution to the problem and not a means of safety.”
“The attack demonstrated the true meaning of success in military operation, where success is not measured by strength of the employed weapon or by an abundance of soldiers, but requires a number of factors and conditions that determine whether or not it is achieved,” al-Qaeda continued. “Perhaps the most important determinants of strength and success in this operation are the location and the time, as well as determination, which was a hallmark of the lone executor of the attack. The Mujahid did not delay to gather the means or procure the most powerful weapon, but he found sufficient his weapon and relied on other factors of success – after seeking guidance from Allah – and then proceeded to his operation.”
They hailed Masood’s attack timing, which coincided with Prime Minister Theresa May being at Parliament for her regular Q&A with lawmakers, “thus giving it both political and military dimensions.”
The location in one of the city’s “most notable neighborhoods” was praised as “blending together tourist attractions and political sites.”
Al-Qaeda had previously panned the location of the Sept. 17 attacks on a street in Manhattan, suggesting a restaurant in Chelsea would have been a better target than a dumpster. They also criticized the use of a timer for the bomb at a New Jersey race because runners were not injured in the explosion as the race had been delayed, and cautioned jihadists who don’t plan on committing suicide to be careful about leaving fingerprints.
“One of the most important messages of the operation is the determination” of Masood, the terror group argued in the London review, who was “not being dissuaded or discouraged by his lack of means” as he “managed to turn civilian weapons into weapons enabling success, bringing the government to its knees and embarrassing its security.”
“Without a doubt, the operation by the lone mujahid on the British Parliament is successful by every standard. The executor excelled in selecting the time and location, and employing the rule of ‘the art of the possible’ in choosing the means and weapons,” al-Qaeda said. “At the same time, however, we call on the lone mujahid not to rely on one form of means or one method, but to broaden the possibilities and increase the options in what means and methods to employ. We advise you to take advantage of all the previous operations and to discover what other factors of success are equally important to the selection of the time and place, and the circumstances surrounding that.”
The terror group called on western jihadists to “choose your targets carefully and determine the optimum location,” and “prepare the most effective and simple means, and do not forget the appropriate time.”
“You are the head of our war,” al-Qaeda reminded lone jihadists, referred to as “open source jihad” within the organization. “…You are waging a battle of Islam, and you are one of the pillars of victory and a brick from its structure.”