Amsterdam targeted in new ISIS threat; Panic unwarranted: security office
A new threat issued by a group claiming affiliation with ISIS names Amsterdam amongst several potential high-profile targets. Titled “Lone Wolves”, the Arabic-language piece seems to promote the use of dirty bombs with the statement, “You will feel it when Cesium-131 spreads down the streets and train stations of Russia, Boston, Dallas, Virginia and Amsterdam.” “I think the credibility of the message is that we investigate everything, but that doesn’t mean that it needs to be taken seriously,” said Edmond Messchaert in an interview with the NL Times. Messchaert, spokesman for the National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism in the Netherlands, went on to downplay the online posting, but saying that all messages are monitored as a way to “keep your fingers on the pulse.” “The posting is known to us. we have seen it,” he continued. “It’s in a line of postings that we see more frequently,” particularly as a way of creating more unrest just after an attack, Messchaert stated. Other cities named in the January 11 message include London, Madrid, San Francisco, Sydney, along with the nation of Belgium. Cesium 131 is a radioactive isotope also used in medicine as a possible cancer treatment. [The possibility exists that the writer of the attack threat meant “Dulles, Virginia,” home to the busiest airport in the Washington D.C. area, and not Dallas, though a separate section also mentions Texas. —-Ed.] It also provides a litany of suggestions for those carrying out acts meant to destroy towns. The “lone wolves” are told to avoid normal routines after committing criminal acts, as well as phone calls before and after crimes. Sleeper agents are told to use false identification, and gloves and masks to cover their tracks at a crime scene. In the statement, the creation of an escape plan is seen as integral to spreading fear and anger, telling potential terrorists to flee to another region immediately after an attack. Small teams are promoted over large numbers as well. “Avoid increasing the number in your circle, which causes difficulty in escape,” the note says. "Any posting like this is taken seriously, but it doesn’t mean the posting itself is serious," Messchaert repeated. "We evaluate everything." The message goes on to quote a passage from the Koran praising those who have done righteous deeds, and denouncing disbelievers as “defiantly disobedient.” With religion as the pretext for an attack, it praises the use of firearms in attacking police stations, government offices, and churches, and promotes “going out into the streets of Madrid, Texas or Sydney with knives in their hands.” Possible attackers are told to integrate into western society before attacking those societies. Canberra, Finland, Florida, Lisbon, Luxembourg, Montreal and Norway are all cited as options. The letter was distributed by a group called Media Front for the Victory of the Islamic State, a collective that posts threats, letters, tactics and literary pieces to various online sites, including Twitter and text sharing platforms like JustPasteIt. The statement was uploaded to various websites, and has also been made available on several blog and forum sites.