Al-Qaida Targets NYC in Latest Magazine

Inspire magazine cover
The cover of Inspire magazine, al-Qaida's first English-language publication. Wikimedia Commons

Police in New York City are on high alert after al-Qaida advocated detonating car bombs in Times Square in the spring issue of its English-language magazine, Inspire.

The American government was unable to protect its citizens from pressure cooker bombs in backpacks, I wonder if they are ready to stop car bombs!” reads a letter from the editor in the front of the magazine. “And the good news is…you can prepare it in the kitchen of your mom too.”

After a step-by-step car bomb-making guide, the magazine suggests that would-be bombers target cities of symbolic importance,” such as Washington, D.C., and New York, as well as northern Virginia, Chicago (“a major transportation hub”) and Los Angeles (“the home base of Hollywood”). Holidays, election campaigns and sporting events like the US Open are highlighted as ideal times for attacks. The magazine also advocates detonating bombs in central locations in Great Britain, France and other crusader countries.”

Northern Virginia is suggested as a target because of its military bases and many government agencies. With the Department of Defense, the CIA and several military bases, the state attracts a load of tourists,” the magazine said.

This is not the first time Inspire has published a how-to guide for building bombs in your mother’s kitchen. Shortly after the 2012 Boston marathon bombing, news broke that the surviving bombing suspect, Dzokhar Tsarnaev, admitted that he and his brother, Tamerlan, used a guide published in the debut issue of Inspire to build the pressure cooker bombs they detonated at the marathon’s finish line. The feature in the debut issue ran under the headline Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom.”

When Inspire launched in 2010, American journalist Spencer Ackerman called it a “lifestyle rag for the conspiracy-minded takfiri, filling the inexplicably vacant media space between O: The Oprah Magazine, Popular Mechanics and the al-Qaida book Knights Under the Prophet’s Banner. Getting would-be jihadis in the U.S. to subscribe to the magazine would be a tall order, he wrote.

In a 2011, the U.S. government assassinated Inspire magazine’s editor, Samir Khan, an American citizen, in the same drone strike in Yemen that killed the imam Anwar al-Awlaki. The spring issue of Inspire includes a memorial to Khan written by his brother.