Exclusive: ISIS Puts Out Holiday Attack List Of U.S. Churches
The terror group threatened “bloody celebrations in the Christian New Year”
The Islamic State published the names and addresses of thousands of churches in the United States and called on its adherents to attack them during the holiday season, according to a message posted late-night Wednesday in the group’s “Secrets of Jihadis” social media group.
A user going by the name of “Abu Marya al-Iraqi” posted an Arabic-language message calling “for bloody celebrations in the Christian New Year” and announced the group’s plans to utilize its network of lone wolf attackers to “turn the Christian New Year into a bloody horror movie.”
The series of messages appeared in a pro-ISIS group on Telegram, which also provides manuals for the use and preparations of weapons and explosives for aspiring assailants. The information, distributed in a number of posts, was all previously available online and includes a public directory of churches across all 50 states. (Vocativ does not publish specific information found in lists like these.)
In another group post, a member summoned “the sons of Islam” to target “churches, well-known hotels, crowded coffee shops, streets, markets and public places,” and shared a list of addresses in the United States, as well as in Canada, France and the Netherlands.
ISIS claimed responsibility for this week’s Christmas market attack in Berlin that killed 12 and injured 48. The group said that the assailant was a “soldier of the Islamic State,” who followed organizational orders “to target coalition countries.” The suspect was identified as Anis Amri, a Tunisian man in his 20s who reportedly had Salafi and jihadi connections in Tunisia and Germany. He is still the object of a massive manhunt in Germany.
The Islamic State has published such lists before — in June, Vocativ reported on a “kill list” that included more than 8,000 names and addresses, including that of police officers in the United States. The June list resulted in no known attacks.