Publication: Terrorism Focus Volume: 5 Issue: 9


A document entitled “The Encyclopedia of Hacking the Zionist and Crusader Websites” was released by al-Qaeda affiliated Global Islamic Media Front on January 27. The guide to computer mayhem is allegedly the work of Moroccan-born British jihadi Younes Tsouli, better known by his internet nickname, “Irhabi (Terrorist) 007.” Tsouli was convicted with two co-conspirators for “incitement to commit acts of terrorism” in 2007. After appeal, the 23-year-old was sentenced to 16 years in a British prison.

An introduction and conclusion to the Encyclopedia is given by Al-Sayf Al-Athari (The Ancient Sword), a well-known and apparently authoritative presence on jihadi websites. The 74-page manual provides detailed hacking instructions and a list of vulnerable websites. Al-Athari notes the manual took close to a year to prepare and has been updated and rendered into Modern Standard Arabic from its original vernacular form. According to al-Athari: “Just the announcement of this work has infuriated the infidel dogs among the Jews and the worshippers of the cross.” Al-Athari also invokes God to make Irhabi 007 “an awl in the eyes of the infidels, a fishbone in their throat,” before concluding with the suggestion that jihad may be fought on the media front as well as the battle front: “By publishing this edition, we are straightening out the argument of the shirkers, along with those who employ the excuse that they are not able to get to the battlefields and the fields of the struggle.”

Tsouli was a proven expert at penetrating websites to insert hidden jihadi files and communications before posting links to these files on various jihadi forums. This material ranged from hacking instructions to the manufacture of explosives. Tsouli’s trial was brought to a crashing halt at one point when the judge interrupted testimony to ask what a website was (The Times [London], May 18, 2007).

Tsouli allows that the hacking methods described may eventually become outdated: “But what is important is for you to learn how the hacking process works in general and to learn how you can search for gaps in systems and how to exploit them in order to fulfill our noble objectives, with the help of Allah.” Hacking programs like John the Ripper, a software application designed for cracking passwords, are provided as compressed attachments.

The Global Islamic Media Front is also known for distributing videos of the Iraqi insurgency and video games like “The Night of Bush Capturing” (, September 21, 2006).


In a new video released on February 27 by al-Sahab Media Production Organization, al-Qaeda leader Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri makes several references to a new book he has written refuting the criticism of al-Qaeda’s methods issued by imprisoned Egyptian extremist Sayyid Imam Abdulaziz al-Sharif, better known as Dr. Fadl. The video was largely intended as a eulogy for Abu al-Layth al-Libi, a senior al-Qaeda commander who was killed in a U.S. missile attack in North Waziristan on January 29 (Dawn [Karachi], February 2).

The reevaluation of jihad practice by his fellow Egyptian appears to have hit a nerve in al-Zawahiri and the al-Qaeda leadership. Dr. Fadl was a founder of Egypt’s Islamic Jihad organization, but last year denounced al-Qaeda’s indiscriminate use of violence and advocacy of takfiri ideology (the identification of other Muslims as infidels) in a treatise entitled “Rationalizing the Jihadi Action in Egypt and the World” (see Terrorism Monitor, December 10, 2007). Opponents of the work claim it was written under duress in an Egyptian prison (al-Hayat, December 30, 2007).

Without mentioning Dr. Fadl by name, al-Zawahiri declared that he had written “a letter”—later described by al-Sahab as “a book”—entitled “The Exoneration: A Letter Exonerating the Ummah of Pen and Sword from the Unjust Allegations of Feebleness and Weakness.” The work is intended to be a rebuttal to Dr. Fadl’s critique, which al-Zawahiri describes as “an insult to the Muslim ummah (community).” Al-Zawahiri also warns Americans and “their agents” to expect no assistance from “concocters of recantations.” According to al-Zawahiri, the Islam presented in Fadl’s work is “the Islam which America and the West wants and is pleased with… The Muslim ummah depicted by that document is the ummah which America and the West want and is pleased with: a helpless, submissive, fearful, fugitive, remote, withdrawn ummah.” While al-Sahab urges readers “to get your copy of the book,” the work does not appear to have been distributed yet.