Despite crushing defeats in Iraq and Syria, Islamic State's propaganda outlets urged lone-wolf attackers to unleash biological warfare on the West, including dissemination of viruses from feces and droppings of rats.
A propaganda video released by pro-Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) propaganda mouthpieces had threatened to use the “silent destructive weapon” on Western countries, according to Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) which had made a transcript of the recording.
It states that a carefully engineered lone-wolf biological attack would come in response to US-led bombings of Islamist-held cities of Mosul, Iraq and Raqqa, Syria.
The video also accused the “crusader alliance” of turning Muslim countries into a testing ground of “phosphorus bombs and toxin gas.”
“We will make you fear the air you breathe,” reads the run-up to the video cited by MEMRI. It shows the San Francisco skyline and a hooded figure in the foreground holding a device spraying green gas.
Though biological warfare agents are typically hard-to-obtain as their production requires advanced technologies, the propaganda video offered a more affordable option for aspiring Jihadists.
It advised to extract the most harmful viruses and infection bacteria and then release them “to renew the fatal nightmare in the land of the devil worshipers.”
Hantavirus which could cause potentially fatal diseases in humans is sometimes derived from the feces and droppings of rats, whilst the cholera virus “is extracted from the patient’s waste.”
Typhoid bacteria is found in human and animal wastes in general and is frequent in the dirty areas, the IS mouthpiece said.
The deadly substances could then be sprinkled on exposed fruit and public foods or be scattered in the air in crowded places.
Despite the Western-led coalition declared victory over Islamic State in Iraq in 2017, the extremists are still afloat, the country’s government warned earlier this year. IS militants did not go away and they now continue menacing Iraqis with hit-and-run attacks and assassinations, Hisham al-Hashimi, the government security adviser, said.
Iraqi troops are struggling to weed out the Jihadists who are hiding in remote mountainous areas, but to little avail so far.
“The special forces don’t have enough resources to hunt the militants down,” al-Hashimi said.
Russian security officials, for their part, have also cautioned not to underestimate the threat of IS.
Alexander Bortnikov, the FSB director, told Moscow Security Conference in April that Islamic State and Al-Qaeda can merge into one terrorist network which could be able to set up cells around the world and even produce chemical weapons.
He said the grim statistics tells that half of the more than 1,600 terrorist attacks around the world annually are linked to Islamic State.
The attacks have resulted in more than 150,000 casualties since the rise of the terrorist group in 2014, and more than 33,000 people were killed or injured in just the past year.