Al-Qaeda's online magazine unexpectedly returns

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Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) on Thursday unexpectedly released two more editions of its English-language online magazine that serves as a guide to potential and future jihadis. The magazine was presumed dead after its top editors were killed last year.

Issue 8, entitled 'Targeting Dar Al-Harb Populations', appeared to have been created in late 2011 before the deaths of U.S.-born al-Qaeda member Samir Khan and U.S.-born radical Islamic preacher Anwar al-Awlaki. They were both killed in a U.S. airstrike in Yemen in September 2011.

'Inspire' magazine is believed to have been the brainchild of al-Awlaki and Khan was its most prominent editor, leading experts to believe no further editions would be forthcoming after they were killed. But al-Qaeda's media wing released Issue 8 on early Thursday morning, although it appeared to have been written before the deaths of al-Awlaki and Khan. The magazine's cover appeared to confirm this, as it gives a "Fall 2011" release date.

But the cover of Issue 9, entitled "Winning On The Ground" with 62 pages, indicated "Winter 2012" as its release date and contained tributes to its former editors. Its new editor, identified only as Yahya Ibrahim, also pledged to continue working on the magazine and promised more issues are to be released.

"To the disappointment of our enemies, Issue 9 of Inspire magazine is out against all odds, al-Hamdolillah (praise to God)," Ibrahim wrote in the first part of the magazine. "The Zionists and the crusaders thought that the magazine was gone with the martyrdom of Shaykh Anwar and brother Samir, may Allah have mercy upon their souls."

Ibrahim said the magazine was never meant to end with the deaths of its founders, and therefore will continue. "They (the West) will be displeased to know that we have been inundated with emails and requests by young inspired Muslims who are persistently offering their help, not just intellectually, but with whatever the Mujahideen (Muslim fighters) need in the West," he said.

The magazine is designed to attract aspiring jihadis who cannot otherwise read Arabic, and it has been frequently found in the possession of terrorism suspects. It offers instructions on bomb-making, weapons training, security measures as well as encryption lessons for beginners. It also offers extremist heavyweight Qur'anic commentary and rudimentary propaganda.

In the eighth issue, the so-called "Open Source Jihad" section provides a guide on how to use a firearm and how to remotely detonate an explosive device. The ninth issue encourages would-be terrorists to contact al-Qaeda, allowing al-Qaeda to make a plan and give instructions to various groups who are unknown to each other but would participate in the same attack. "By that means, if one of the groups was discovered by the enemy, it won't affect the other groups," it notes.

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