Shiraz Maher writes: It was the final part of the latest Islamic State video that will have caught the attention of the Security Service. After a 15-minute film celebrating the Paris attacks in November, viewers see David Cameron giving a press conference in Downing Street with a message from Islamic State flashing across the screen.
“Whoever stands in the ranks of kufr [the infidels],” it reads, “will be a target for our swords and will fall in humiliation.”
Various London landmarks – Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square – then appear in rapid succession before the video comes to an abrupt stop. A terrorism analyst sent me a message shortly after the video was released on Sunday. “I would consider it a warning,” he noted. “That wasn’t [there] because they didn’t know how to fill the last segment.” This is not the first time IS has appeared to threaten Britain, but it is the most pointed and menacing warning yet.
I messaged a British member of IS, who is originally from Buckinghamshire, to ask his view. Was it intended to be warning? “Yep,” came the reply. “Do they [the British government] expect us to sit back and do nothing? Idiots.”
The fighter was referring to parliament’s decision to extend British air strikes to IS targets inside Syria, and to those people who counselled against such action his comments may seem to offer vindication. Yet the facts aren’t so straightforward.
Last July I spoke with another British IS fighter, Abu Rahin Aziz, to get his thoughts on the tenth anniversary of the 7/7 London terrorist bombings. He was bullish, warning of more attacks, and then he explained in careful detail some of the philosophical reasons Britain remains a target for the group. [Continue reading…]