The Islamic State (Isis) is planning a violent Ramadan. The terrorist group has released a new propaganda message encouraging supporters within the US and Europe to plan attacks on their own if they are unable to travel to Syria to join the group's caliphate.
In the video released on 21 May by the IS (Daesh) media arm al-Furqan, its spokesperson Abu Mohammed al-Adnani called on supporters to carry out more attacks on the West during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan that begins on 6 June, "to win the great award of martyrdom".
"The tiniest action you do in the heart of their land is dearer to us than the biggest action by us ... There are no innocents in the heart of the lands of the crusaders," he said in the 31-minute video.
The period of Ramadan, which carries on into July, happens to coincide with a number of big events in Europe. The Euro Cup begins on 10 June while Wimbledon will take place mid-June onward. The Glastonbury Festival is slotted to start on 22 June as well. The London Gay Pride Parade also happens in June on the 25th and 26th.
"If one of you hoped to reach the Islamic State, we wish we were in your place to punish the Crusaders day and night," al Adnani said. He also acknowledged that the terrorist group had suffered a severe hit in recent attacks from the anti-IS coalition but assured viewers that in the end, the group would prevail. "Defeat is the loss of will and the desire to fight," the video announced, explaining that the group would not be deterred even if they lose their strongholds Raqqa and Mosul.
The reference to Raqqa follows the recent incident in the IS-held city when leaflets were dropped across the region by the militia coalition, advising civilians to leave. The extremists controlling the city, however, warned citizens that they were not allowed to leave and started a registration process to keep tabs on the population.