Political Analysis

New issue of jihadist magazine produced by al-Qaeda in Yemen suggests attacks on U.S.

National Yemen

By Karen DeYoung

A new issue of Inspire, the English-language online magazine produced by al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen, is devoted to “jihad on America” and suggests targeting major American figures as well as Western commercial airliners, according to a report Wednesday by SITE Intelligence Group.

The issue is the 13th since Inspire was first published online in 2010. Its founder, Samir Zafar Khan, was born in Saudi Arabia to Pakistani parents but grew up in New York state.

Khan, a blogger on jihadist themes who was well-known to U.S. intelligence, is believed to have traveled to Yemen and joined al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, the year before the magazine’s debut issue.

Khan, an American citizen, was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen in 2011, along with Anwar al-Awlaki, also an American, whom President Obama described as AQAP’s “operational commander.”

The most infamous article published by Inspire, a Khan-authored instructional guide titled“How to Build a Bomb in the Kitchen of your Mom,” was used by the Boston Marathon bombers in a pressure-cooker explosive they planted in their April 2013 attack, according to prosecutors in the case.

The cover of the new Inspire issue is of a commercial airliner whose undercarriage is being blown up. According to the SITE report, the magazine states that it is “committed to arm Muslim individuals — as well as Muslim groups.”

Also this month, the media wing of AQAP released a video providing guidance to militants on avoiding detection by drones, according to the Long War Journal, a news Web site.

The video notes that drones locate targets on the ground through visual and heat detection. It provides instructions on creating an “insulation cover” made from everyday materials such as a canvas sheet and aluminum foil. It suggests that the cover be painted to match the terrain and color of the surrounding environment.

To avoid possible drone attacks while driving, the video suggests traveling in “unknown cars” and making frequent stops to check for overhead monitoring. If drones are detected, it recommends stopping the car in a protected place, such as under trees or a roof, leaving the vehicle and shielding oneself with the “insulation cover.”