Brussels attacks: ‘Fight the Westerners’ text sent to youths in Molenbeek

The Guardian reports: Young men in the Molenbeek district of Brussels were sent messages over the weekend calling on them to “make the right choice” and “fight the westerners”.

The texts were sent on Sunday night from a prepaid account that could not be traced or replied to. It followed a video distributed on Facebook, since removed, apparently showing local youths celebrating the attacks in Brussels last week. The death toll from the bombings has risen to 35, Belgium’s health minister said on Monday.

The short SMS message written in French, which the Guardian has seen, says: “My brother, why not fight the westerners? Make the right choice in your life.”

The rapid use of technology to spread propaganda after the attacks will stoke fears that Islamic State is trying to use the heightened tension to recruit more disaffected youths.

It is not known how the recipients’ phone numbers were obtained, but community activists believe Isis handlers download all contacts from the phone books of new recruits and select young men of north African origin to follow up. [Continue reading…]

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