The network of ISIS-supporting groups waging an online propaganda, incitement and recruitment campaign quickly seized upon the terror group’s official claim of a Friday attack in central Melbourne with a vow to strike the country “however we want.”
The new call for attacks follows material issued several weeks before the Bourke Street rampage, which encouraged jihadists to concentrate on poisoning Australia’s food supplies.
A 31-year-old man crashed a blue pickup loaded with gas canisters onto a sidewalk today and then jumped out and stabbed three people. ABC News in Australia reported that one man died at the scene and two were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.
The attacker, who was shot by police and died at the hospital, reportedly was known to intelligence authorities. Police have since tightened security around central Melbourne while stating that they know of no “ongoing threat at the moment.”
Last November, an Australian citizen was arrested in a New Year’s Eve attack plot that would have caused “catastrophic” casualties in “one of the most important centers where Christians meet,” ISIS said in their official newsletter at the time.
ISIS claimed today through their official Amaq news agency that the Melbourne stabber was “a soldier of the Islamic State.”
Soon afterward, images from the Melbourne attack, which was captured on video by numerous bystanders, were incorporated into a poster being circulated online: “We strike whenever we want, wherever we want, however we want #Australia”
At the height of Australia’s strawberry contamination crisis in September — when more than 100 reports of needles found inserted into the berries resulted in growers disposing of their crops — some theorized a disgruntled employee at a packing house may have been responsible, but the case is still open.
ISIS never claimed responsibility for poking needles into the strawberries, but late that month jihadists seized upon the crisis to encourage bioterror.
“O Crusaders! We will never allow you to enjoy the taste of what you desire,” said one poster distributed by ISIS supporters, including a drawing of a small bottle of poison and a photo of a fruit bowl containing grapes, apples and oranges.
Another poster with the same message bore the word “Australia” with a photo of a man in a T-shirt clutching his stomach.
“O Crusaders, We will make you check everything and anything you eat out of fear, horror and terror,” said another image of strawberries, a bottle marked “poison,” and a photo of the Sydney Opera House.
In July, Al-Faqir, a prolific ISIS media group that last month threatened grenade attacks at music venues, released a video titled “Bio Terror” that walked supporters through how to wage a bioattack on the West “that cannot be detected or tracked.”
“Sprinkle the liquid substances or the basics of bacteria with drinking water to take effect automatically,” the video advised would-be jihadists. “Sprinkle the crushed material on exposed fruit and public foods or scatter them in the air in crowded places — with caution.”