Just days before one ISIS-allied media group released a propaganda poster threatening to attack concerts with a knife, another prolific ISIS media group threatened grenade attacks at music venues.
The group behind the latter threat has issued a number of slick videos and posters this year, including one warning of knife-wielding terrorists on commercial flights.
The new Al-Abd Al-Faqir poster released in the last week of September depicts a jihadist blending into a crowd wearing a white T-shirt and jeans. As concert-goers face the stage, the jihadist grips a grenade in his right hand.
“We have prepared for you what never crossed your mind, for our goal is to horrify you and terrorize you and harm you,” the text reads.
In January, the media group depicted the invasion of Washington and in February declared “Paris before Rome,” depicting a terrorist invasion that began with cells in the countryside outside Paris before attacking the city.
A March video depicting a global caliphate showed a Facebook-style profile of “John Stephen,” a white man with a closely trimmed beard using an image of the White House exploding in flames as his banner photo.
This April, in English, French and Arabic, Al-Faqir threatened attacks on commercial air travel. Preceding this summer’s World Cup, another poster from the media group depicted a jihadist standing among the spectators at a soccer match with a grenade in hand. “Victory will be ours,” it said.
Another Al-Faqir poster showed a Molotov-cocktail-wielding man clad in a black hoodie, vowing in English and Russian “we will turn your night into fires.”
While ISIS still distributes propaganda including video, audio, stories and photos through the group’s official propaganda channels, ISIS-supporting media groups have picked up the lion’s share of grass-roots incitement and recruitment by pushing suggested attack methods and targets and speaking to Western jihadists.
Last week, in a move possibly meant to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the Las Vegas massacre — a mass shooting that ISIS first claimed and now encourages followers to emulate — a poster from Remah Media Production circulated online showed a jihadist wearing a suit jacket standing with a large knife behind his back while behind concert-goers whose attention is fixed on the stage.
“Wait for our surprises,” warned the text, signed “Islamic State.”
The image used in the poster didn’t single out a specific venue, but appears to have been stock plucked from a royalty-free photo site jihadists have previously used: the picture appears in the first page of search results when entering “concert” at Pixabay.com.
In May 2017, a suicide bomber claimed by ISIS killed 22 people leaving an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena in the UK. After the Oct. 1, 2017, attack on a Vegas country music festival, official ISIS media channels persisted for a few months in claiming killer Stephen Paddock as one of their one, even bestowing the nom de guerre Abu Abdul Bar al-Amriki.
Mentions of the mass shooting eventually shifted more to jihadists using Paddock’s actions as an inspiration, suggesting crowded festivals or musical events as prime targets. The 187-page report from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department issued two months ago said investigators found nothing to support claims that Paddock acted on behalf of ISIS or that he was religious or political in any way.