Opportunistic jihadis have posted messages urging supporters to carry out vehicular attacks similar to Thursday’s Times Square car crash even as law enforcement officials confirmed that the incident had no connection to terrorism.
Pro-Islamic State jihadis shared images and messages such as, “Soon, the vehicle attacks will be witnessed on your streets, by Allah's permission,” in an attempt to lure so-called ‘lone wolf’ attackers to carry out same-style attacks but in the name of the Islamic State.
Richard Rojas,26, from Bronx, NY, was arraigned Friday on charges of second-degree murder, 20 counts of attempted murder and five counts of aggravated vehicular homicide following Thursday’s car crash, which killed an 18-year-old woman.
The terror group has even been using relevant hashtags such as #NewYork #Times_Square and #USA in their propaganda posts.
Jihadis posted an image of a large truck with “We will continue to terrorize you and ruin your lives,” on the Telegram messaging app, urging ‘believers’ to give up this ‘temporary life’ and earn everlasting reward in paradise.
"O Muwahhid (believer), Indeed it is a single soul and a single paradise, so sell it to Allah and purchase Jannah (afterlife). Sell what is temporary for what is lasting, for how blessed a transaction is that transaction! Blessed would be the seller and blessed be the buyer!"
After finding challenges in asking would-be jihadis to travel from around the world, particularly the West, to the Caliphate, the Islamic State began a campaign of encouraging Western sympathizers to launch local attacks in their hometowns by using everyday objects as weapons, such as kitchen knives, axes and cars, to ram into large crowds.
ISIS has claimed car ramming attacks in Nice, Berlin, London and Ohio State University, when Somali student Abdul Razak Ali Artan drove his car into a group of pedestrians on a sidewalk and subsequently exited his car and started stabbing those nearby with a knife.
Earlier this week, ISIS released a video featuring an American jihadi calling for ‘lone-wolf’ attacks in the U.S.
"Liberate yourself from hellfire by killing a kafir (non-believer)," a jihadi identified by his pseudonym, Abu Hamza al-Amriki, said.
The group has also published several articles and infographics in recent months urging supporters to carry out vehicular attacks, advising them to target places with heavy pedestrian traffic such as New York, to maximize the impact of attacks.