ISIS is one of the biggest threats to peace in the world not because of their skill or weapons, but having emerged in the era of social media, the terror group has completely utilized the internet in propagating their hateful agenda in places previously impenetrable by the caves and dessert bound terrorist from the Al-Qaeda era.
Now anybody can be a terrorist and any mundane object like a vehicle can be fashioned into a weapon. This knowledge is being passed on into the world through various mediums and one of them is ISIS’s magazine Rumiyah that means Rome. The magazine was earlier called Dabiq. The name declares a change in strategy for ISIS. Dabiq is a town in Syria, where Islam is meant to triumph over infidels in the last big battle or the venue for Armageddon, but after losing the territory, they shifted their focus on attacking the heart of western spiritual power, which according to them is Rome, hence the new name Rumiyah.
The magazine’s tagline reads: “O muwahhidin (mujahideen) rejoice, for by Allah, we will not rest from our jihad except beneath the olive trees of Rumiyah (Rome).” Recently there has been a series of truck attacks across Europe, the most deadly being the truck attack in Nice, France. On 14th July 2016, while people in Nice where out celebrating Bastille Day when a lorry driven by Mohammed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel ploughed into the crowd watching the beautiful fireworks display. Bouhlelkilled 86 people including 10 children and teenagers and around 434 people were injured before being killed by the police.
The other attack took place in London when Khalid Masood, a 52-year-old with ties to ISIS drove a car at high speed at pedestrians killing 5 people before being shot dead by the police. In December, a man hijacked a truck and slammed into shoppers at a Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 people. The attacker was shot dead by police in Milan. Most recently in April a truck drove into a store in Sweden killing at least 3 people.
In November 2016, Rumiyah’s third issue had an entire article devoted to vehicular attacks that was titled “Just Terror Tactics.” The author wrote: “Having a secondary weapon, such as a gun or a knife, is also a great way to combine a vehicle attack with other forms of attacks. Depending on what is obtained, the kill count can be maximized and the level of terror resulting from the attack can be raised.” Following the article almost 4 such attacks have taken place. The author of the article in Rumiyah gives explicit details on how to carry out such a truck attack, the magazine says “Islamic State members, or sympathizers anywhere in the world, to hop in vehicles, steal them, if need be and attack outdoor markets, public celebrations, political rallies, and pedestrian-congested streets. All so-called ‘civilian’ (and low security) parades and gatherings are fair game and more devastating to Crusader nation,” Adding the dimensions of the vehicle saying the “most appropriate killing vehicle, is a load-bearing truck” that is “double-wheeled, giving victims less of a chance to escape being crushed by the vehicle’s tires.” It should be “heavy in weight, assuring the destruction of whatever it hits.”.
All these instructions were given while giving credit to Bouhlel, the article said “This was superbly demonstrated in the attack launched by the brother Lahouaiej-Bouhlel”. It goes onto giving a detailed description of the attack and how well it was done.
One of the article of Rumiyah shows a picture of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade alongside the article and suggests it as an excellent target. The Parade is one that attracts millions onto New York’s roads and rooftops. Rumiyah has been propagating different forms of violence and methods to perpetrate it, governments across the world have to now be wary of terrorists weaponizing the humble goods truck or any vehicle.