Islamist militants fighting in Iraq and Syria are producing a weekly English language magazine designed to recruit and radicalise would-be jihadists in the West.
The magazine, which is professionally designed and edited, is published by AlHayat Media Center – the propaganda wing of ISIS, the Sunni militant group whose brutal campaign to establish an Islamic state in the Middle East has been branded too extreme even by Al Qaeda.
ISIS already make extensive use of social media to keep in near-constant contact with supporters in the West – even selling branded merchandise such as T-shirts, baseball caps and cuddly toys.
ISIS’ weekly magazine is titled ‘The Islamic State Report’ and is published every seven days.
Now on it’s fourth edition, the first was printed on June 1. A fifth edition is expected to be released on Saturday.
The fourth edition features a slick front page with the headline ‘Smashing the borders of the Tawaghit: The Battle of Asadulla Al-Bilawi’, and has a photo of masked militants freely crossing the border between Syria and Iraq.
All of Iraq’s western borders with Syria – which ISIS call Sham – and Jordan are now under the control of the fanatical Islamist militant group, which aims to establish an undemocratic Middle Eastern state.
ISIS MILITANTS USING MESSENGER SERVICE KIK TO COMMUNICATE
Many of the ISIS militants active on social media encourage would-be jihadists in the West to contact them privately using the smartphone messenger system Kik.
Several – including Abu Abdullah Al Britani, who gives regular jihad advice on social network Ask.Fm – even list their Kik usernames in their Twitter biography.
Abu Abdullah has previously told supporters there is no mobile phone signal in the area in which ISIS is fighting.
However, he has repeatedly stated that the group are still able to communicate using smartphone messenger services.
As such, it would appear ISIS are employing Kik in much the same way as troublemakers used Blackberry’s BBM messenger to privately organise themselves during the 2011 UK riots.
ISIS has previously developed its own app for Android phones, The Dawn of Glad Tidings, which leveraged Twitter users’ accounts to share tweets related to the group. The app has now been removed.
Kik has not yet responded to MailOnline’s request for a comment.
The magazine opens with several pages describing the history of Middle East and attempts to justify the establishing of a caliphate as a mission to correct the carving up of the region by Allied forces in the aftermath of the First World War.
It goes on to boast that in a number of border crossings in western Iraq, ISIS has partially restored the geographical boundaries in place before the famous Sykes-Picot agreement.
After dedicating several pages to ISIS’ views on 20th Century history, the magazine moves on to a picture-led account of the so-called Battle of Asadullah Al-Bilawi, written with tabloid headlines in the style of a football match report.
Sunni followers of ISIS claim the battle, which took place earlier this month and led to the fall of Iraq’s second largest city Mosul, led to the execution of 1,700 Shi’ite soldiers.
The publication of the magazine is just the latest in ISIS massive propaganda campaign, which includes dozens of accounts such as Twitter, Facebook and Ask.Fm, the release of slick English language recruitment videos, and the sale of ISIS-themed clothing and memorabilia.
One jihadist, who claims to have arrived in Syria from Britain and calls himself Abu Abdullah Al Britani, reguarly posts advice to would-be militants on Ask.fm, including instructing them on the best way to travel to join ISIS.
Yesterday Home Secretary Theresa May said it is believed about 400 young men have left the UK to join ISIS in the Middle East.
She warned these jihadists are now ‘just a few hours flying time’ from striking Britain, adding that they will ‘want to attack us’ when they return.
Mrs May said Islamist fighters had carved out a ‘safe haven’ in the Middle East – with ‘advanced technology and weapons’ capable of threatening the UK.
She said the terror threat was now ‘on the doorstep of Europe’ and was the most serious since 9/11.
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