The Islamic State (Isis) is well known for its online activities. In addition to being fairly active on social media, the extremist group and its supporters share propaganda on online discussion forums in efforts to boost recruitment. Pro-Isis support forum al-Minar saw a new thread in which supporters gathered to come up with ideas on how best to launch new "lone wolf" terror attacks on Western countries.
The discussion thread, created by a user named Ilami Tunisi, allegedly involves Isis supporters brainstorming several possible terror attack scenarios. The ideas range from unnervingly realistic schemes, such as sending fake anthrax to politicians as a scare tactic to the more bizarre ones like pouring motor oil onto highway roads early in the morning to cause a pile-up, the Voactiv reported.
"Lone-wolf brothers in Western countries are carrying out suicide attacks against our enemies all the time... I'd like to suggest ways to attack the enemy inside their countries without exposing the wolves to death or certain arrest," wrote Tunisi, the creator of the discussion thread.
Tunisi's message allegedly prompted other users of the forum to respond with their own outlandish ideas. One user suggested spreading the Zika virus. "I'm suggesting lone wolves, who have the financial capability and an American or a European passport, travel to an infected country... take some infected mosquitoes... and smuggle them inside America or Europe, and establish a farm to multiply them," wrote the user.
The most number of ideas shared were by Tunisi himself, who also advocated lone wolves to ignite "coordinated wildfires". He advised that the attacks should be conducted in a "professional way" and predicted that it "will be disastrous for their economy, will burn their houses, and will kill some of them".
Lone wolf attacks and Isis propaganda
Security firm ICIT explains a radicalised lone wolf as "a self-radicalised, homegrown terrorist fuelled by an extremist perspective of a distorted ideological variant. Whether they be Islamic Jihadists or far right/left anti-government activists, these contorted dogmatic mutations are merely a centralised point of focus for a deeper psycho-social affliction in the individual".
ICIT's senior fellow James Scott told IBTimes UK that the economic atmosphere in the West is currently ripe for Isis and other extremist groups' propaganda to effectively reel in the susceptible and vulnerable.
"Right now in the US and Europe, the native populations are experiencing a virtual epidemic of economic turmoil, loss of employment and lack of answers or action from their governments that could hint at creating a light at the end of the tunnel that could render some sort of relief. The West has never seen such economic uncertainty compounded by social unrest," explained Scott.
"This is an environment that will breed extremism in all forms as the disunited populations splinter off into social circles that share their particular target and expression that relieves their anxiety. The virtual propagation of extremist content in all forms will thrive to a ready global audience," he added.