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Exploring the Role of Instructional Material in AQAP’s Inspire and ISIS’ Rumiyah

19 Jun 2017

In recent years Europe has faced an increasing wave of so-called ‘lone actor’ attacks committed by jihadist terrorists. This trend has continued in 2017. For example, the attacks in London and Stockholm, which were simple but devastating in their methodology, used vehicles to run pedestrians down. While the London attacker disembarked to engage in a deadly knife attack, an unexploded bomb was subsequently found in the truck used in the Stockholm attack. All of these methods have been described in detail in recent ‘how-to-guide’ articles in English language jihadist magazines, such as in the ‘Open Source Jihad’ (OSJ) section of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) Inspire magazine and the ‘Just Terror’ (JT) section of Islamic State's (ISIS) Rumiyah magazine.

This Report begins by exploring the history of instructional material in terrorist propaganda before going on to examine the role of Inspire’s OSJ section and Rumiyah’s JT section within the broader context of the groups’ messaging efforts. It concludes by outlining CT-CVE strategic communications recommendations for both proactively undermining this type of violent extremist messaging and responding post-incident to directed versus inspired attacks.

This Report was presented in the 1st ECTC Conference on Online Terrorist Propaganda (10-11 April 2017) and resulted in the following publication.