ISIS is encouraging its members to attack Hurricane Harvey relief centers in Houston. A social media post by the terror group and quoted by Newsweek reads:
“To all the (lone mujahids) in the U.S. (warrior), pop down to Houston and drop in at any of the relief centers housing displaced people from the Houston floods, make sure to bring lots of supplies/gadgets/toys to see if you can help put any (unbeliever) out of their misery.”
One analyst quoted by CNBC says that “these posts appear to be more aspirational than operational, with hopes that their followers would then act on calls for attacks. Incidents involving lone wolf attackers have demonstrated the potential danger, lethality and effectiveness of a rehearsed small arms or knife attack that can be carried out by a single individual with little or no training. It also underscores the potentially higher consequences of an assault attack involving multiple operatives.”
An alert put out by Homeland Security in Florida warns police officers to “maintain situational awareness of their surroundings.”
ISIS jihadis not only view centers set up for those displaced by the recent hurricanes as ripe for attack opportunities, they also view the devastation wreaked by the storms as divine retribution by Allah.
Ahmed Mansour, an Egyption journalist for the Qatari-based Al Jazeera channel, wrote that Hurricane Irma was a “display of God’s greatness which many dare to deny.”
On Facebook, Mansour posted a picture of cars backed up on a Florida highway driven by people evacuating from the hurricane with the caption, “The grand escape from Florida…20 million American running away in fear of hurricane Irma which is wiping out everything in its wake.” He added the verse from the Quran, “and He will show you His signs, and what signs of Allah will you deny?”
After tremendous backlash, Mansour removed the post.