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Friday, January 27, 2023

ISIS Threats Increase Against London, Depict 10 Downing Street Attack

ISIS supporters who boost the terror group’s recruitment and incitement operations through a glut of online propaganda posters have been lately concentrating on London in their barrage of threats.

One image of Big Ben vows that “Crusaders” will “soon be pursued in your own homeland.” It bears the branding of “Greenbirds,” a reference to jihadists killed while conducting terror attacks.

ISIS Threats Increase Against London, Depict 10 Downing Street Attack Homeland Security Today
ISIS supporters image

“Greenbirds” also appears on an image of 10 Downing Street in flames circulated over the weekend, declaring “the mujahideen’s fire will burn soon. Just you wait.” The results of the Conservative Party leadership election were announced today, making former London Mayor Boris Johnson the new prime minister.

Earlier in the month, ISIS supporters depicted a camouflage-clad child armed and sitting in front of Big Ben, with the text “London, stay tuned for the invasions of Caliphate cubs.” ISIS refers to its jihadists as “lions” and kids in their training programs as “cubs.” The same image, in Arabic, was circulated in June.

Around the same time, another “Greenbirds” poster depicted an explosion on the edge of Tower Bridge, with the words, “The London Bridge will fall soon.”

Late last month, an image circulated depicting a jihadist firing an RPG into the middle of Big Ben, with text crediting Surah Al-Taubah 9:5: “Kill them wherever you find them and capture them and besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush.” Text drawn to mimic dripping blood declares “coming soon.”

A propaganda poster last month from non-official ISIS media channel Maqdisi depicted President Trump in an orange jumpsuit kneeling in front of a camouflage-clad jihadist — in front of Big Ben. “We will spare no effort in terrorizing your masses,” vowed the threat.

Another June propaganda poster depicted a masked, armed jihadist holding up his index finger in front of a burning Big Ben.

Recent threats from ISIS-supporting media groups have also been more general, including a hand holding a cell phone with nine seconds on a timer in front of a nighttime cityscape with the words “coming soon.”

The posters crafted and circulated by ISIS supporters online are unofficial media. The weekly al-Naba newsletter, which is official ISIS media, said two days before the 2017 London Bridge vehicle ramming and stabbing attack that an attack on London was “inevitable.”

The UK’s current terror threat level is “severe,” meaning a terrorist attack “is highly likely.” The level has remained that high since September 2017, when it was downgraded from “critical,” meaning that an attack is highly likely in the near future.

“We received over 13,000 public reports relating to concerns of terrorism in 2018. 22% of the information received assisted with live investigations,” the UK’s counterterrorism police collaborative tweeted Monday. “Your actions could save lives.”

Threat or Not? Anatomy of a Terror Propaganda Poster

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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