A pro-ISIS media group today circulated a poster depicting a vehicle moving toward the Vatican with a cache of weapons, vowing “Christmas blood.”
“So wait…” are the only other words on the image from the Wafa’ Media Foundation.
The illustration shows the point of view from an unseen driver as his or her BMW approaches St. Peter’s Basilica in the evening with an unobstructed view driving down Via della Conciliazione. In the passenger seat: a rifle, a handgun and a backpack. In the rearview mirror, a masked face.
ISIS followers have favored attacks during the holiday season, with the 2015 attack on a San Bernardino County Christmas party by Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik as well as last December’s truck attack on the Berlin Christmas market by Anis Amri.
The Wafa’ Media Foundation last week released a PR poster titled “The Specter of Terrorism,” stating in English, “You will pay very expensive price for your war on Islam.” The message added: “We will take revenge for the blood of Muslims on your land, we will kill the young before the older watch this.”
The Wafa’ posters are circulated largely on Telegram. One recent release was labeled “Manhattan” with a backdrop of burning, crumbling skyscrapers and a semi-truck — significantly more truck than the flatbed pickup Sayfullo Saipov rented from Home Depot — and showed a masked, armed jihadist standing before the scene. Whereas this jihadist wielded 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 stated. “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 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.
In an August ISIS video showing an attack on a Catholic church in the Philippines, jihadists toppled a large crucifix and stomped on it. They also toppled and smashed statues of Jesus, Mary and saints, tore up photos of Pope Francis and Pope Benedict XVI and set fire to the parish.
One of the jihadists, vowing that “we will make more revenge,” held aloft a photo of Pope Francis. “We will be in Rome, inshallah,” he says repeatedly before pointing his gun at the pontiff’s picture.
The ISIS magazine Rumiyah — or Rome, reflecting the group’s apocalyptic vision and ultimate plans to sack the Vatican — hasn’t published a new issue since September. Their early e-book detailing the Rome conquest strategy predicted mob bosses would put up tough resistance: “There is no doubt that if Muslims want to take over Italy, the Islamic State European fighters will have to ally with other militias to fight the Mafia before the conquest of Rome.”