ISIS Threatens Attacks on Churches in Washington DC, New York on Christmas

“We meet at Christmas in New York soon,” reads the caption of the poster…

Islamic State supporters have threatened to launch a terror attack in Washington, D.C. and New York on Christmas, according to the SITE intelligence group. A propaganda poster carries a picture that shows Washington’s National Cathedral erupting in flames while indicating that New York could be their target.

ISIS

“We meet at Christmas in New York soon,” reads the caption of the poster, which otherwise carries an image of Washington’s National Cathedral, reveals SITE, which monitors extremist communications online.

The poster was found circulating through a pro-Islamic State encrypted channel, Telegram.

“ISIS is incentivized to make threats like this, which come at no cost to them. ISIS is not dispatching fighters around the world for complex coordinated terrorist attacks, but has largely relied upon individuals and citizens already living in Europe and the United States to commit unsophisticated attacks,” Newsweek quotes Harrison Akins, a researcher at the Howard Baker Center, as saying. “These individuals’ affiliations with ISIS are often tenuous and are perhaps better described as ‘inspired by’ rather than operationally directed. So perhaps somebody within the U.S. will take it upon themselves to commit an attack on Christmas, which falsely bolsters the perceived capabilities and reach of the group.” 

In October, a 27-year-old man from Virginia, Mohamad Khweis, became the first U.S. citizen to be convicted of successfully joining the Islamic State terror group, also known as IS, ISIS, ISIL or Daesh, and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Over 100 people in the U.S. have been charged with trying to support or join IS, but Khweis succeeded.

IS managed to encourage over 40,000 fighters from more than 110 countries to travel to join their fight before and after the declaration of the “caliphate” in June 2014, according to a report, “Beyond the Caliphate: Foreign Fighters and the Threat of Returnees.”

The report, recently released by the Washington-based security intelligence consultancy Soufan Center, states that there are now at least 5,600 citizens or residents from 33 countries who have returned home — accounting for about 15 percent of the fighters.

The report claims that for the U.S., 129 fighters succeeded in leaving the country and only seven have returned.

While IS has lost its territory in Syria and Iraq, the threat is far from over in the  Middle East or elsewhere.

Iraq declared earlier this month that its territory is now “fully liberated” from IS, overlooking warnings by allies that the terror group still poses a threat to the country in the form of guerrilla warfare.

“As ISIS continues to lose land, influence, funding streams and conventional capabilities, we expect them to return to their terrorist roots by conducting high-profile attacks on helpless civilians such as those we’ve already seen in Nasiriyah, Ramadi, and elsewhere over the past weeks,” a spokesperson of the U.S.-led international coalition said at the time.

Iranian influence is now present in Nineveh towns once mostly populated by Christians before IS took over, and has prevented some from returning to their homes.

Muslim Man Who Beheaded Coworker Told Investigators: Allah ‘Wants Us to Get the Oppressors Out’

“You know the Muslim is somebody who submits their will to Allah … Whatever he wants done, that’s what we do,” Alton Nolen, now 33, told police in 2014. “And you know he wants us to get the oppressors out of this place.”

NORMAN, Okla. — A Muslim man from Oklahoma who beheaded his coworker three years ago after being suspended from the job told investigators that Allah “wants us to get the oppressors out,” as per recorded audio played during his trial on Wednesday.

He said that he acted out because he felt he was being treated differently by his coworkers because he is a follower of Islam. “I don’t feel regret, because you know what I’ve done,” Nolen stated. “That’s probably going to make Vaughan Foods a better place to work for a Muslim.”  

In Sept. 2014, days following his suspension from Vaughan Foods over alleged comments about Caucasians, Nolen entered the front office, where he encountered Colleen Huffort and began attacking her with a knife.

“He did kill Colleen and did sever her head,” police spokesperson Jeremy Lewis stated in a press release following the incident.

Nolen then began attacking coworker Traci Johnson who caught the attention of others in the building with her screaming. One of those who heard Johnson’s cries for help was Chief Operating Officer Mark Vaughn, who also served as an Oklahoma county reserve deputy. Being armed at the time, he shot Nolen, saving Johnson’s life.  

“This was not going to stop if he didn’t stop it,” Lewis remarked. “It could have gotten a lot worse.”

Others in the building locked themselves in their offices and called 911. Police arrived on the scene minutes later.

Nolen was hospitalized and was interviewed by police while in the hospital.

On Wednesday, Johnson was one of those who testified in court for the prosecution. She explained that she heard Huffort screaming like bloody murder and hurried to see what was wrong.

“When I saw the defendant, I was frozen,” she said. “I couldn’t move. And I saw the knife with the blood, … and he made a mad dash toward me and pushed me up against the wall and held me up with his forearm against the wall and just started splicing my neck.”

“He wouldn’t stop,” Johnson recalled. “He was just going back and forth like he was cutting a piece of meat.”  The trial is scheduled to resume on Monday, when the defense will be provided the opportunity to make their case. They believe Nolen should be found not guilty by reason of insanity.

“It’s all in the context of what legally insane means. And that is [if Nolen] didn’t know the difference between right and wrong, and didn’t know the consequences of his actions,” Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn told News9. “And clearly he knew what he did was wrong.”

Reports state that Nolen has a criminal past as he was convicted in 2011 on drug charges and for assaulting a police officer. He spent two years behind bars for his crimes before being released on probation. His Facebook page also was stated to contain “provocative” content that is Islamic in nature and critical of the United States.

[written by Heather Clark]