Al Qaeda is about to take on a new target — America’s trains — in an upcoming edition of its terror magazine, Inspire.
Issue No. 17 is headlined, “Train Derail Operations,” and will spell out ways to create rail disasters in a transportation system that lacks the stiff security procedures of airline travel.
Its competing Sunni extremists group, the Islamic State, for more than a year has advocated using vehicles to mow down innocents. Its murderous followers have weaponized vehicles in Nice, Berlin and London, creating hundred of deaths and injuries.
Adding trains to the terrorist’s priority list would put at risk virtually every mode of transportation and placed added pressure on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) put out a report on Friday saying al Qaeda has teased the Inspire articles with a trailer appearing on Telegram app channels operated by its fans.
“The trailer highlights that derailments are simple to design using easily available materials, that such a planned attack can be hard to detect, and that the outcome can substantially damage a country’s transportation sector and the Western economy in general,” MEMRI said.
The U.S. maintains over 100,000 miles of rail. But the trailer features scenes of just one system, the subway. It shows cars flashing through urban tunnels. It quotes from U.S. Government Accountability Office reports on the vulnerability of rail lines to sabotage. It then shows what appear to be rudimentary devices that can be clamped onto a line to cause a derailment.
“Simple to design,” the promo says in English script, mentioning “America” several times. “Made from readily available materials. Hard to be detached. Cause great destruction to the Western economy and transportation sector.”
Al Qaeda in recent months has depicted itself as making a comeback from its headquarters in Yemen. It has created new alliances in North Africa, is using social media to attract adherence and has not given up the idea of another mass-casualty attack such as its commandeered-airliner strike on New York and the Pentagon in 2001.
• Rowan Scarborough can be reached at email@example.com.
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