The pro-ISIS media group behind a recent string of threats against the 2018 World Cup lauded the Manhattan truck attack and warned of more bloodshed to come in posters distributed to online supporters today.
The propaganda wave comes as official ISIS channels, including the affiliated Amaq news agency, have not yet taken credit for the attack — even as terror suspect Sayfullo Saipov reportedly asked for an ISIS flag to be hung above his hospital bed.
One of the posters from the Wafa’ Media Foundation, labeled “Manhattan” with a backdrop of burning, crumbling skyscrapers and a semi-truck — significantly more truck than the flatbed pickup Saipov rented from Home Depot — shows a masked, armed jihadist standing before the scene. Whereas this jihadist wields a rifle, Saipov brandished a paintball gun and a pellet gun — and had a stun gun in his truck — before he was shot in the abdomen by a real bullet from an NYPD officer.
“O worshippers of the cross in USA,” the poster states. “Our lone wolves will come to you from where you do not know and we will terrorize you wherever you are and we will show you multitudes of terror and pain that you showed to the Muslims, and what is coming is more bitter and greater.”
In May 2016, Wafa’ warned in a message to the citizens of Spain and all Spanish-speaking countries that lone jihadists existing in those areas would kill the “disbelievers” as “previously planned.” In August 2016, the media foundation said that jihadists had to step up their game to make attacks in Spain worse than terrorist operations in France. Wafa’ pressed jihadists to kidnap or kill Spanish nationals.
After 15 people were killed and at least 130 injured in August when terrorists belonging to a local cell plowed a rented van through crowds on Las Ramblas, a long pedestrian mall in Barcelona, Wafa’ issued a fresh warning over the weekend that jihad there “has not been fought and gone” and cells remain in Barcelona and beyond. The message was addressed “from the Islamic Republic of Spain to the Government of Spain.”
Over the past week and a half, Wafa’ has released several gory posters threatening the World Cup, scheduled next summer in Russia. The images showed FC Barcelona star Lionel Messi dead, French national team manager Didier Deschamps as an orange-jumpsuit-clad prisoner of ISIS being held at gunpoint, and Brazilian national team star Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior about to be executed. “You will not enjoy security until we live it in Muslim countries,” one poster vowed.
In early October, Wafa’ called for lone wolf attacks in the style of the Las Vegas mass shooting. They also lauded the June 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting after Omar Mateen’s attack.
Prosecutors said today that Saipov began planning his attack a year ago, and specifically an attack involving a rented truck two months ago. A note was found in the truck saying in part that ISIS “will endure.”
The FBI complaint says he had about 90 ISIS propaganda videos, including of executions, downloaded on his cell phone along with thousands of images.