Jihadi Tutorial in Urban Terrorism and the Kidnapping of Americans

Publication: Terrorism Focus Volume: 5 Issue: 27

Recent postings in a jihadi internet forum give instructions on how to kidnap Americans and conduct urban terror operations. A posting entitled “The preferred rules of the art of kidnapping Americans” is an in-depth training lesson directed at the conduct of successful kidnappings (al-ekhlaas.net, July 7). In the same context, another posting entitled “Clandestine work inside the city” discussed urban terror training tactics (al-ekhlaas.net, July 7).

A forum participant, nicknamed Abu Hajar Abdul Aziz al-Moqrin, commences his first posting by explaining the definition of security operations against the enemy in depth, the significance of such operations and the different types of these operations. The scope of jihadi operations range from basic security activities to selective targeting and mass casualty attacks.

In the security operations, jihadis are to attack political figures without claiming responsibility whenever it is deemed necessary to liquidate certain harmful anti-jihad figures. Secondly, jihadi security operations are to be attempted whenever a military attack is impractical. Thirdly, terror attacks are directed against economic targets and enemy facilities. Al-Moqrin elaborates on the tactics jihadis must implement depending on battlefield circumstances, such as raids and ambushes. Preparation for a terror raid or ambush involves target selection, casing, planning, preparing gear, setting a date and selecting the right execution elements. Al-Moqrin explains the importance of casing and surveillance in these operations and elucidates the techniques required for casing and surveillance and the temporary and permanent covers needed for an operation.

On the subject of kidnapping, al-Moqrin says the objective of kidnapping important enemy personnel (such as high ranking officers, aviation officials or diplomats) includes forcing the enemy to acquiesce to demands to release imprisoned fellow jihadis, collecting intelligence from the kidnapped, capturing equipment and documents useful in future jihad operations, raising money through ransoms and the demoralization of the enemy. Prior to execution, the jihadis must collect sufficient intelligence on the target through surveillance. Factors in target selection include:

• Easy access

• The target is a mature male

• The target is isolated from security protection details

• The target is physically weak and easy to subdue

• The target does not maintain vigilance

Kidnapping cells must be equipped with silenced weapons, anesthetic injections, wires, a device to deliver electric shocks, tape, blindfolds and three vehicles—two for reconnaissance and one to transport the target. The victim is to be held in an isolated place with multiple entrances and exits and must be large enough to bury the victim in case the victim is executed.

Al-Moqrin’s training lesson is very thorough, covering many small details. The lesson ends by emphasizing discretion, saying the possibility of detecting and uncovering the cell is 3 percent during preparation, 2 percent during execution and 95 percent after execution.

In another posting in the same forum, entitled “Clandestine work inside the city,” al-Moqrin says a four-member jihadi cell should be properly trained in urban terror warfare before activation. Cell members should be locals working under suitable covers and carrying the necessary identity documents. Living expenses are higher in some cities than others; therefore the cell has to be properly funded. Jihadis must learn from past mistakes and operate on a need-to-know basis. The cell that collects information on a target must not know the purpose of the collected information and the cell that secures weapons and equipment must not know the target or the time of execution. Therefore, the urban cell has to have a commanding unit, an intelligence unit, a logistics unit and an execution unit. The units are to communicate indirectly through using the dead letter box technique. Types of jihadi operations in the city include assassinations, kidnappings, vandalism and raids to release imprisoned jihadis.

Al-Moqrin warns jihadis not to attack religious figures because it harms the jihadi cause. An exception is made for cases of great necessity, such as the case of Rabbi Meir Kahane, who was killed in 1990 “for cursing the Prophet Muhammad.” Instead, urban jihad cells should seek economic targets, such as Jewish investments in Muslim countries, international companies, international economic experts, exports from “Crusader countries” and raw materials being “stolen from Muslim countries by the enemies,” with al-Moqrin calling for attacks on oil wells, oil pipeline and oil tankers.

The human target-list, according to al-Moqrin, should be prioritized as follows:

1. Jews: Jews from Israel and the United States have priority over Jews from the UK and France

2. Christians, especially those from the United States, the UK, Spain, Australia, Canada and Italy

3. Apostates, particularly Muslim leaders who keep close ties with Jewish and “Christian governments,” such as Egyptian President Husni Mubarak and the leaders of the Gulf States

4. Secular individuals, including spies and security officials who protect Jews and Christians

Postings of this type demonstrate the professional knowledge of some jihadis in security and intelligence matters. Jihadis are constantly exchanging tactical knowledge to perfect their terror techniques, hoping to succeed in hitting hard targets rather than the soft targets they have attacked so far.