Al-Qaida in Yemen Publishes Tips on How to Kill Americans

October 12, 2010 - 5:07 AM

al-awlaki, al Qaeda in Yemen

A screenshot of U.S.-born Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, from the video message posted on the Internet by the Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (Image: Middle East Media Research Institute)

Washington (AP) - Yemen's al-Qaida of the Arabian Peninsula is offering chilling magazine tips to would-be militants on how to kill Americans.

"A random hit at a crowded restaurant in Washington, D.C. at lunch…might end up knocking out a few government employees," writes one of the authors in the second edition of the group's online, English-language magazine, according to the private SITE Intelligence Group.

The SITE group says it studies, tracks and analyzes the global jihadist network and terrorism financing.

The article in the 74-page October issue of Inspire, launched in July, came out just in time for the 10th anniversary of the USS Cole bombing. It shows the group "is not under significant pressure," says Brookings Institution terror expert Bruce Riedel.

Al-Qaida suicide bombers attacked the U.S. destroyer in a Yemen port on Oct. 12, 2000, killing 17 American sailors.

Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula has taken root in Yemen's remote and mountainous Shabwa province, far from the reach of the country's weak central government.

The group rose toward the top of the security agenda of the United States and other world powers after it was linked to the failed Christmas Day attempt to down a Detroit-bound U.S. airliner. The would-be bomber had explosives sewn into his underwear.

The magazine's content reveals the group's evolving strategy of rejecting easier-to-stop spectacular attacks in favor of one-man operations, using everyday objects.

That shows the organization is "increasingly agile, lethal and opportunistic," according to Yemeni scholar Christopher Boucek from the Carnegie Endowment.

The first edition included an article called "Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom."

This new edition includes "The Ultimate Mowing Machine," which describes how to use a pickup truck "as a mowing machine, not to mow grass, but mow down the enemies of Allah." It says "to achieve maximum carnage, you need to pick up as much speed as you can while still retaining good control . . . to strike as many people as possible in your first run."

The magazine includes two articles by renegade U.S. cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who is on a U.S. government kill-or-capture list for his alleged roles in the attempted Christmas Day airliner bombing, and inspiring the Fort Hood shooting of 13 troops. Army Major Nidal Hassan has been charged in the killings.

There's also an article by the so-called American al-Qaida, Adam Gadahn.

Another American, Samir Khan, describes how he went from online jihadist in North Carolina to full-time terrorist in Yemen. The article is entitled, "I Am Proud to be a Traitor to America."

The series of articles, combined with a number of recent releases on an al-Qaida version of YouTube, are "broadening their potential audience," says Boucek. "They are brilliant at amplifying their message."

In the introduction to the latest magazine, the editors boast of "recent U.S. assessments" that declared al-Qaida of the Arabian Peninsula "one of the most dangerous branches of al-Qaida." It concludes, "You haven't seen anything yet."

Terrorism expert Paul Pillar of Georgetown University said the way the magazine was written struck him as aimed as much at garnering U.S. media attention as to inspire would-be militants. The last Inspire magazine drew as much or more comment by Western media outlets than it did on jihadi websites.