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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

ISIS Group Distributes Infamous al-Qaeda Bomb-Making Tutorial Translated into Spanish

An ISIS-supporting media group that has warned of active cells and impending attacks in Spain and beyond is distributing a Spanish-language translation of the first issue of an infamous al-Qaeda magazine followed by the Boston Marathon and Chelsea bombers.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula published the debut issue of Inspire in 2010. The glossy English-language magazine tailored to a western audience included a section on “open-source jihad,” al-Qaeda’s term for homegrown attacks. Within this section was an article bylined “The AQ Chef” called “Make a bomb in the kitchen of your Mom.”

Muntasir Media pitched the guide with a photo of a shadowy figure holding a pressure cooker, and the words “open source jihad.” The Spanish translation follows the same design as the original al-Qaeda tutorial, with the same step-by-step photos for bomb-making that culminates in the pressure cooker being recommended as “the most effective method” for fielding an effective device that “would not hinder the shrapnel.”

The decade-old Inspire text tells would-be jihadists in America and Europe that homegrown terror is “a better choice and easier” than traveling to a training camp, and holds up the “individual work” of Fort Hood terrorist Nidal Hasan and attempted Times Square car bomber Faisal Shahzad as examples. “With a few more ‘failed’ operations we may have the resignation of the President of the United States,” the AQ Chef article added, stressing that “we are conveying to you our military training right into your kitchen to relieve you of the difficulty of traveling to us.” The tutorial told aspiring terrorists that they could start with a bomb to kill up to 10 people and “in a month you may make a bigger and more lethal bomb that could kill tens of people.”

Muntasir Media is one of the more prolific ISIS-supporting media groups that have buoyed the terror group by producing original yet not official propaganda posters and videos. Muntasir has long warned of more attacks in Spain, issuing a threat last year against a famous Barcelona Catholic church, the Sagrada Família, along with a  French-language threat bearing a picture of the Eiffel Tower and calling on supporters to kill police. They’ve resurrected scenes from the 2017 Las Ramblas attack and declared that “the cells are ready” to strike “designated” targets again.”

Spanish police announced in October that they had arrested a 23-year-old unnamed Spaniard of Moroccan origin near Madrid who was the sole person behind Muntasir Media. Officials said he had extensive computer security knowledge and that officers discovered bomb-making materials including chemicals, IED construction manuals, and target lists at his residence.

Authorities declared that Muntasir had been dismantled, but the media outlet continued to release videos including a loyalty oath to the new leader of ISIS in November and calls for holiday attacks on various Madrid targets in December.

There has also been fresh activity from a Spanish-language ISIS-supporting group called Vida Media, which released a poster online with the words “America: We will kill them one by one if Allah wants.”

A search of an easy-access file-sharing site on which issues of Inspire are housed found translations into other languages including Russian and Urdu, but no previous Spanish translations.

Despite the history of al-Qaeda how-tos being used in homegrown attacks, the terror group’s legacy content evades online censors more often than ISIS propaganda, often staying online for years. The same inaugural Inspire magazine issue that included the “Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom” article was posted for free download on the Barnes & Noble website, where it had been uploaded and existed for years (until 2018, when it was discovered by this author and subsequently removed by the bookseller) under the hiding-in-plain-sight title “Al-Malahem Media Foundation presents A Special Gift to the Islamic Nation The first Magazine issued by al-Qaida in the English language.”

Al-Qaeda also offered as an ebook on Barnes & Noble titled “An English Translation of Al-Malahem Media’s Audio Release And If You Must … by the Mujahid Sheikh Ibrahim al-Rubaish May Allah Protect Him.” Al-Rubaish, said to have been killed in a 2015 drone strike, was a Saudi senior leader of AQAP and frequent Inspire contributor.

A paperback of late al-Qaeda recruiter Anwar al-Awlaki’s “Allah Is Preparing Us for Victory” — with the original imagery of a jihadist waving the black standard on the cover — is currently available for $8.99 on Barnes & Noble’s website. Several of al-Awlaki’s lectures were originally released by Al Basheer Productions, which could explain the  unknown name listed for the “notes” editor; this book, which was self-published in February 2015 through the Createspace Independent Publishing Platform, says it has a foreword from a Saeed al-Bashir.

Bridget Johnson
Bridget Johnson is the Managing Editor for Homeland Security Today. A veteran journalist whose news articles and analyses have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe, Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor and a foreign policy writer at The Hill. Previously she was an editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and syndicated nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. Bridget is a terrorism analyst and security consultant with a specialty in online open-source extremist propaganda, incitement, recruitment, and training. She hosts and presents in Homeland Security Today law enforcement training webinars studying a range of counterterrorism topics including conspiracy theory extremism, complex coordinated attacks, critical infrastructure attacks, arson terrorism, drone and venue threats, antisemitism and white supremacists, anti-government extremism, and WMD threats. She is a Senior Risk Analyst for Gate 15 and a private investigator. Bridget is an NPR on-air contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Observer, National Review Online, Politico, New York Daily News, The Jerusalem Post, The Hill, Washington Times, RealClearWorld and more, and has myriad television and radio credits including Al-Jazeera, BBC and SiriusXM.

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