The Islamic State's (Isis) so-called hacking arm, the United Cyber Caliphate (UCC), has released a new kill list with over 1,700 entries, targeting members of Christian churches and Jewish synagogues in the US. The list, like others released in the past, calls on pro-Daesh supporters to "kill them all" and "slay them", in efforts to promote more lone-wolf attacks in the West.

Intelligence analyst group SITE said the list was first published on 3 July, but was deleted shortly after its publication. On 5 July, the list was back online with 25 additional links, each of which was on a different server, the Italian publication Velino reported.

It is still unclear as to how the list was compiled and whether specific religious organisations have been targeted. A separate, yet related report by WSMV, highlights that the FBI has been notifying some residents in the Nashville area, alerting them about having been included in the kill list.

"When we find information like this, we're always doing our best to contact the public, let them know, even if we don't understand why necessarily that information was out there or compromised," said FBI assistant special agent-in charge Matthew Espenshade. He added that the information found on the kill lists is sometimes easily available online, adding : "So it's a matter of not necessarily hacking but really searching."

In a dedicated analysis on Isis kill lists, SITE said: "Recently released kill lists associated with the Islamic State (IS, also known as Isis) have highlighted an evolving and increasingly implemented terror tactic. Kill lists have long been released officially by jihadi groups, but it wasn't until recently that self-proclaimed hacking groups began releasing their own kill lists."

Explaining the functional and structural aspects of pro-Daesh hacking groups, SITE said: "It is important to note that these hacking groups exist within one largely unified online community, comprised of individuals and media groups which routinely vet and promote each other."

The report also pointed out that unlike past jihadi kill lists which focused on prominent political and/or economic figures, the recent trend adopted involves the "designation of seemingly random targets". This apparent shift in target selection indicates the desire to promote "widespread fear" among governments and the general public.

ISIS releases new kill list with 1,700 names targeting US churches and Messianic synagogue members
It is still unclear as to how the list was compiled and whether specific religious organisations have been targeted iStock