Although ISIS typically takes the spotlight, other terrorist organizations continue to pose a threat to the United States. Earlier this month, Al Qaeda supporters launched a Twitter campaign urging Muslims to carry out lone-wolf attacks on the US homeland, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
On April 1, 2016, an Al Qaeda supporter on Twitter named Abu Abd Al Kareem Al Gharbi launched a campaign titled “America, the Head of the Snake,” with the goal “to renew the spirit of jihad in the Ummah.”
Al Gharbi, who uses the handle @w3y_jhdy, also encouraged participants to post tweets and disseminate jihadi clips and materials to encourage Muslims to wage jihad against the United States and to refute counter-jihad arguments.
Sheikh Omar Al Rahal, who uses the Twitter handle @ghubrmrk7, is the campaign coordinator. He encouraged campaign followers to stop using the US dollar, focus on destroying the United States instead of ISIS, and expressed his wish that Hamas’s Al Qassam Brigades would carry out an attack that would weaken the US economy.
Participants in the campaign have posted hundreds of tweets, images, and videos condemning the United States, most of which depict the dead bodies of children supposedly killed in drone strikes. The videos discussed why the United States is a legitimate target for lone-wolf attacks.
One participant Abu Safaa, who uses the handle @AdolfSafi, compared the United States to the pagans who reject Islam in the early days. He tweeted, “Islam had achieved victory after beheading the leaders of Quraysh and [Islam] will win if it beheaded the leaders of America.”
Another participant, Abu Khaled Al Suri, writing under the hashtag with the handle @khaled_hamoi, called on Muslims to carry out attacks on the US homeland, tweeting, “Once it is destroyed, the tyrant regimes which are sitting on our hearts will collapse.” In a subsequent tweet, he wrote, “If you can’t target it inside its territories, attack its bases and companies which are around the world.”
Al Baraa Al Madani, another Al Qaeda supporter, suggested taking American citizens as hostages with the aim of exchanging them for “brothers who are in prisons.” He tweeted, “Cut [off] the head and the tail would stop. Target [US] embassies and exchange hostages with the brothers who are in prisons.”
Although the campaign was very active in the first two weeks, it has slowed down substantially in the past week.