Homeland Security News

al-Qaeda Call For Nuclear Or Chemical Weapon Attack Against West – Threat, Attack Signal or Hoax?

Every once in awhile we come across a story that is difficult to make heads or tails of. Need an example? Keep reading…

Yesterday we received a tip on a story about a new al Qaeda video that was about to be released online. The video called “Nuclear Terrorism” was reportedly calling for jihadists around the world to use nuclear or chemical weapons to strike the west. After reviewing the story we were left with a couple of unanswered questions. Is this a jihadist propaganda video, a coded message to a sleeper cell, or a hoax?

We researched the story, asked others for their opinions, and unfortunately 24 hours later we’re still not sure what to make of it.

Here’s what others are saying…

NewsMax is reporting that the FBI issued a bulletin to 18,000 law enforcement agencies this week warning that al-Qaida has made new threats to use weapons of mass destruction against U.S. targets.

From the folks over at Counterterrorism Blog

As of early this evening, ABC News and the Drudge Report are running a headline claiming that “al Qaeda operatives will post a new video on the Internet in the next 24 hours, calling for what one source said is ‘jihadists to use biological, chemical and nuclear weapons to attack the West.'” The ABC News report quotes FBI spokesman Richard Kolko as acknowledging that “there have been several reports that al Qaeda will release a new message calling for the use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) against civilians.”

For the record: there is no indication whatsoever that Al-Qaida’s As-Sahab Media Foundation is preparing to release anything in the next 24 hours. There has been no notification posted on the usual channels, there are no glitzy advertisements, and there is no credible electronic chatter, period. Rather, the intel community appears to have (once again) fallen victim to poorly researched open source news reporting. In recent days, several fringe media organizations have published stories about a video recording posted by anonymous Al-Qaida miscreants on extremist Internet chat forums.

Jawa has another take and brings up an all too familiar name… Adnan el-Shukrijumah

From Jawa Report- I think it’s alarmist to even ask the question as this obviously is a simple propaganda video. And not a very good one at that. But wait for the end of the post to see why it might have some worried.

The video also quotes Osama bin Laden’s rantings against the Muhammad cartoons as justification for using nuclear weapons against the West.

About 30 minutes into the video the editors splice in an English language video claiming that if al Qaeda ever got enough fissile material, they could easily make a nuclear weapon out of it.

The video ends with this odd series of numbers. Any clue what they could mean?


Maybe a cryptic message with no meaning, but meant to scare since it seems like some kind of code?

As improbable as it is that this is some kind of coded message to a sleeper cell, risk assessment usually trades off probability for possible adverse effects. Which is just another way of saying that you assign priority to defending against improbable events when such an event would be catastrophic should it ever occur. Highly unlikely, but if we’re wrong about how unlikely it is then we’re screwed.

E-mail me and I’ll send links to the full vid, not the YouTube version which is split up into 4.

UPDATE: I almost forgot to mention this name that will be immediately recognized by long-time Jawa readers: Adnan el-Shukrijumah

And of course the MSM

A new video called “Nuclear Terrorism” has been posted on the worldwide web calling for jihadists to use nuclear or chemical weapons to strike the west.

A simple jihadi propaganda video or a dangerous message to a sleeper cell in the west? That is the question raised by the video and no-one has yet claimed responsibility for it.”Strike civilians in the west without mercy using weapons of mass destruction” is one of the calls made in the 39-minute video.

The question now being asked is whether the video is presenting a coded message or signaling an imminent terrorist attack.

Before the video was posted on the Arab internet forum Ekhlas a banner headline appeared on the website that said: “Pray, pray, Allah is great. America is destroyed by a fatal jihadist nuclear strike.”

Clicking on the banner gives the viewer access to a documentary which shows diverse images – from al-Qaeda speeches to western documentaries and other Islamist videos.

The objective appears to be to incite followers of al-Qaeda to use weapons of mass destruction to strike the west, but there may be more to it.

The video opens with two verses of the Koran that emphasize “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”. It then says “Fight them until there is no more persecution and Allah is the only object of worship. If they desist, there will be no hostility, except against those who are dishonest.”

“Attack those who attack you. Fear Allah and know that Allah is with those who fear Him.”

The documentary, filmed in Arabic, begins with images of a documentary distributed in November 2004 by the Italian news network, Rai News 24 entitled, The Hidden Massacre, in which US soldiers allegedly used chemical weapons against Iraqis in the city of Falluja.

It also includes the voice of an Arab jihadist who appears to be giving a lesson to a group of people on the need to conduct attacks against the US and Europe.

“This is called terrorism, but we cannot stop aggression against our countries if we do not use these arms, as Russia and the US did when they were conducting their arms race. If you have them, we must also have them.”

From ABC News – Original Source for This Story

Intelligence and law enforcement sources tell ABC News they are expecting al Qaeda supporters will post a new video on the Internet in the next 24 hours, calling for what one source said is “jihadists to use biological, chemical and nuclear weapons to attack the West.”

Officials say they expect a new tape from al Qaeda to call for the use of weapons of mass destruction against civilians. The group has released messages with increasing frequency this year.

“There have been several reports that al Qaeda will release a new message calling for the use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) against civilians,” FBI spokesman Richard Kolko told ABC News in an e-mail.

“Although there have been similar messages in the past, the FBI and [Department of Homeland Security] have no intelligence of any specific plot or indication of a threat to the U.S.,” the e-mail said. “The FBI and U.S. intelligence community will review the message for any intelligence value.”

While there is no evidence of any direct threat, the FBI sent a bulletin to 18,000 law enforcement agencies across the country, out of an abundance of caution.

Some independent analysts don’t think the public should worry much.

Ben Venzke, the CEO of IntelCenter, a group that monitors terrorist communications on the Web, said the video, entitled “Nuclear Jihad, The Ultimate Terror,” is a jihadi supporter video compilation and not from an official group.

“Supporter videos are made by fans or supporters who may not have ever had any contact with a real terrorist,” Venzke said. “These videos almost always are comprised of old video footage that is edited together to make a new video.”


We’ll continue to monitor this story and report any additional details as they become available.

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1 Comment

  • The Al-Qaeda sympathizer video urging nuclear terror attacks against the West may not be directly from Osama bin Laden. However, many experts believe it is only a matter of time before Al-Qaeda uses nuclear weapons.

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