Al-Qaida Calls for Car Bombs Across America

Top targets? Big cities, tennis tournaments, and holiday gatherings.

National Journal
Jordain Carney
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Jordain Carney
March 19, 2014, 1:01 p.m.

Al-Qaida is us­ing the latest edi­tion of its magazine to call for car bombs across the United States and oth­er “cru­sader coun­tries.”

The Spring 2014 edi­tion of In­spire de­tails how to build a bomb and sug­gests the best way to plan and ex­ecute a suc­cess­ful at­tack.

Un­sur­pris­ingly, the magazine notes that “Amer­ica is our first tar­get,” and it re­com­mends Wash­ing­ton (spe­cific­ally res­taur­ants and bars on M Street), North­ern Vir­gin­ia (in­clud­ing Ar­ling­ton and Al­ex­an­dria), Chica­go, New York, and Los Angeles as spe­cif­ic tar­gets.

In ad­di­tion, it notes that a po­ten­tial ter­ror­ist should look for places “flooded with in­di­vidu­als,” in­clud­ing sports events — spe­cific­ally the U.S. Open ten­nis tour­na­ment, cam­paign events, fest­ivals, and hol­i­day gath­er­ings on Christ­mas, New Year’s Eve, or New Year’s Day.

“The im­port­ant thing is that you tar­get people and not build­ings,” notes the art­icle, loc­ated in the magazine’s “Open Source Ji­had” sec­tion.

And with the Bo­ston Mara­thon com­ing up next month, the art­icle strikes a sober­ingly fa­mil­i­ar note with a re­cipe on how to build a bomb us­ing a pres­sure cook­er — the type used in the April 2013 at­tack.

Top de­fense and Home­land Se­cur­ity of­fi­cials have warned about an in­creas­ing risk from in­di­vidu­als who work alone to plan or carry out a ter­ror­ist at­tack without dir­ect in­struc­tions from a ter­ror­ist or­gan­iz­a­tion.

DHS Sec­ret­ary Jeh John­son said last month that the Bo­ston Mara­thon bomb­ing could be “a sign of the fu­ture” and that ter­ror­ist threats from so-called “lone wolf” or “self-rad­ic­al­ized” ter­ror­ists are in many ways harder to de­tect.

DHS didn’t im­me­di­ately re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment on the magazine art­icle.

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