As Texas comes to terms with the devastation left by Hurricane Harvey, supporters of the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) are calling on American jihadis to target relief centers for those displaced.
“To all the LM’s (lone mujahids) in the U.S.,” the message posted on Monday begins, using the term for “warrior” in Arabic, “pop down to Houston and drop in at any of the relief centers housing displaced people from the Houston floods, make sure to bring lots of supplies/gadgets/toys to see if you can help put any kuffs out of their misery,” continues the message, which was provided to Newsweek by radical-Islamist monitoring site Jihadoscope.
The term kuffs refers to the Arabic word “kuffar” or disbeliever. The message ends with emoji icons of an explosion, knife, bomb, gun and medical symbols, such as a pill and an injection.
The call for attacks on those left homeless or injured by the natural disaster came from a channel called ‘Lone Mujahid’ on the encrypted app Telegram, a platform popular with jihadists for its privacy and lack of takedowns compared to more public social media platforms such as Twitter.
The hurricane has killed at least 60 people, caused billions of dollars’ worth of structural damage, and left thousands permanently or temporarily homeless across 11 counties in Texas. Many have been forced to leave their homes and evacuate their areas, taking shelter in relief centers.
The FBI did not respond to a Newsweek request for comment about security at the centers and its knowledge of any threat at the time of writing.
The call for attacks against U.S. civilians is one regularly made by ISIS and its supporters. In November 2016, the group called for the “slaughter” of U.S. voters taking part in the presidential election eventually won by Donald Trump.
Europe has faced greater security problems at the hands of homegrown jihadis and returning foreign fighters, with more ISIS sympathizers and operatives able to travel to the continent from the Middle East or North Africa. The U.S. has also suffered several attacks by homegrown radical Islamists, the deadliest being the shooting at a LGBT nightclub in Orlando in June…