An ISIS supporter released a poster of Santa Claus on the group’s social media haunts. The poster shows Santa overlooking Times Square with a case of dynamite at his side.
In the image, the New York streets are filled with pedestrians at nighttime and Santa carries a bulky red sack.
“We meet at Christmas in New York… soon,” reads the text on the image.
It follows propaganda posters making holiday threats toward Europe, with a hand holding a bloody knife before a market in the neighborhood of the Eiffel Tower and a black-clad jihadist standing over Santa on London’s Regent Street.
The threat also comes as the ISIS-supporting Wafa’ Media Foundation has released numerous threats against the holiday and against the Vatican. In a message to fellow jihadists last week, the group noted that “the crusaders’ feast is approaching.”
In another instance, Wafa’ circulated a poster depicting a vehicle moving toward the Vatican with a cache of weapons, vowing “Christmas blood.”
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.
And a 2016 video released by the Al-Furat Media Foundation, an official media affiliate of the Islamic State, portrayed a suicide bomber striking Times Square.
That video opened with the tag “USA” in the upper corner and shots of an unseen person assembling a bomb to put in a suicide vest. The person buttons up a blue shirt, straps on the bomb belt, and zips up a dark brown leather jacket to conceal it. He’s wearing a stainless steel wristwatch that reads 9:25.
That was followed by scenes of Times Square and the torso of the leather-jacketed man walking along the street. A TGI Friday’s sign is shown.
In a close-up of the man with no location shown, he’s pulling the ring on his detonator.
It appeared to be mock-up footage from an Al-Jazeera segment, with the network’s logo fuzzed out but still discernible. News footage was then shown of the ABC News building banner in New York scrolling a headline about the November 2015 Paris attacks.
The video then showed Orlando nightclub bomber Omar Mateen along with closeups of the weapons he used in the June 12 attack on the Pulse nightclub: a Sig Sauer MCX .223 caliber rifle and Glock 17 9 mm.
That month, a criminal complaint stated that Mohamed Rafik Naji, 37, a legal permanent U.S. resident and citizen of Yemen, discussed a plot to try to conduct a Nice-style attack using a garbage truck to mow down people in Times Square.
“They want an operation in Times Square, reconnaissance group already put out a scene, the Islamic State already put up scenes of Times Square, you understand. I said that was an indication for whoever is smart to know,” Naji said to an FBI source, according to the complaint.
Last month, a Canadian, a U.S. citizen living in Pakistan, and a Philippine citizen were charged with plotting to attack NYC, including “detonating bombs in Times Square and the New York City subway system, and shooting civilians at specific concert venues.”
“We seriously need a car bomb at times square,” federal officials said one of the men messaged in conjunction with a photo of the area. “Look at these crowds of people!”