The New York Times reports: The day he left Syria with instructions to carry out a terrorist attack in France, Reda Hame, a 29-year-old computer technician from Paris, had been a member of the Islamic State for just over a week.
His French passport and his background in information technology made him an ideal recruit for a rapidly expanding group within ISIS that was dedicated to terrorizing Europe. Over just a few days, he was rushed to a park, shown how to fire an assault rifle, handed a grenade and told to hurl it at a human silhouette. His accelerated course included how to use an encryption program called TrueCrypt, the first step in a process intended to mask communications with his ISIS handler back in Syria.
The handler, code-named Dad, drove Mr. Hame to the Turkish border and sent him off with advice to pick an easy target, shoot as many civilians as possible and hold hostages until the security forces made a martyr of him.
“Be brave,” Dad said, embracing him.
Mr. Hame was sent out by a body inside the Islamic State that was obsessed with striking Europe for at least two years before the deadly assaults in Paris last November and in Brussels this month. In that time, the group dispatched a string of operatives trained in Syria, aiming to carry out small attacks meant to test and stretch Europe’s security apparatus even as the most deadly assaults were in the works, according to court proceedings, interrogation transcripts and records of European wiretaps obtained by The New York Times. [Continue reading…]