Jihadis Discuss Means of Poisoning the Water Supply of Denmark and Great Britain

Publication: Terrorism Focus Volume: 5 Issue: 32

A major jihadi internet forum has posted a terrorist plot to use chemical and biological agents to contaminate water resources in Europe in general and Great Britain and Denmark in particular, the latter in retaliation for insulting the Prophet Muhammad through publication of the infamous “Muhammad cartoons.” The posting, entitled “Back Breaking Blow to Denmark, the U.K, and the European Union,” discussed ways of poisoning water resources and reservoirs to cause mass killings (al-ekhlaas.net, August 16). Even though many forum participants consented to the plan and participated with ideas on the kind of chemical agents that might be used in such attacks, some forum members disagreed with the terror plan, arguing that mass killing has neither religious justification nor a fatwa (religious ruling) to authorize it. The anti-attack forum members appeared to have a strong case from a religious standpoint, leading to a protracted discussion lasting over a week.

A forum member nicknamed Baghdad al-Khilafa, with over a thousand postings, primarily on weapons and explosives, proposed the terror attack to retaliate for Denmark’s mockery of the Prophet Muhammad, to terrorize the enemy’s ranks, and to ease the infidels’ onslaught on Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan, Morocco, Somalia, Eastern Turkistan (Xinjiang) and Chechnya. The objective of the plan was to kill as many civilians as possible by contaminating the main water supply pipelines in any of the major cities in the Europe with chemical substances.

The stages of the plot were outlined as follows:

• Collect intelligence on the target and determine the right timing for execution. This involves reconnaissance, casing facilities and frequenting the target country.

• Distract and avoid security forces at the target. A mock operation is created to divert attention from the original target.

• Use one fair-skinned blonde jihadi to execute the attack and leave the country immediately after perpetration.

• Use a highly poisonous chemical substance to contaminate the water supply.

The terror plot stirred strong interest among forum participants who requested execution plans, ways to reach the target country and further details on producing the chemical substances.

Al-Khilafa later posted links to a file hosting website – megaupload.com – that contains material on explosives and poison production manuals. A wide range of chemical substances to be used in the attack was offered by al-Khilafa and other forum participants. The list included, among others, cyanide, hydrocyanic acid, potassium cyanide, aniline hydrochloride, sodium nitrite, cobalt chloride, cobalt nitrite, and the highly toxic compound thallium, known as “the poisoner’s poison.”

Forum members discussed methods of producing and using chemical substances. Al-Khilafa posted experimental results of his own observations of the effects of these poisons on mice.

A forum member nicknamed Al-Bara Bin Malik suggested a number of poisonous gases that could be used in an attack, such as chlorine gas, mustard gas, hydrogen cyanide and nerve gas. Although Malik did not explain methods of launching the poisonous gases, he claimed they are easy to prepare and asked the other chatters to speculate on ways of developing aerosol distribution systems. Other chatters posted photos of water pipelines, water towers, and diagrams illustrating ways to inject the chemical substances into the water system. One participant, a mechanical engineer nicknamed Athab al-Qabir, suggested attacks are possible through valves or ventilation openings.

On the other hand, a forum participant nicknamed Noon questioned the religious justification of such operations and asked for the fatwa that would authorize massive attacks killing innocent men, women and children, including Muslims living in Europe. Infuriated by Noon’s opposition, the majority of forum members rebuked him, quoting their own interpretation of Quranic verses and various Hadiths they claimed supported mass killings. The debate went on for a week, intensified by Noon’s logical replies citing Quranic verses and many Hadiths he interpreted as prohibiting the terror plot from a religious jurisprudence perspective. The majority of forum members ignored Noon’s reasoning and continued exchanging information pertinent to the terror plot.

Most jihadi websites are dominated by Salafi-Jihadi extremists who propagate extreme rhetoric and call for the indiscriminate mass killing of infidels and non-adherents of “al-wala’ wa al-bara’” (Loyalty [to Islam] and Disavowal [to its Enemies]).

Moderate Salafis nonetheless often succeed in dissuading indecisive Islamists in the forums from carrying out extremist violence by challenging the militants with strong arguments they cannot refute. Moderate Salafis are probably the most capable of engaging and exposing the false practice of Salafi-Jihadi extremists; unfortunately, moderates rarely jump into debate with extremists for fear of being accused of apostasy.