According to Vocativ, a call for jihad went out the week of Christmas on a messaging app known for pro-ISIS groups to summon “the sons of Islam” to target U.S. churches and turn the Christmas celebrations “into a bloody horror movie.”
Thousands of names and addresses were published in the social media group “Secrets of Jihadis” via Telegram, an app Vocativ states "provides manuals for the use and preparations of weapons and explosives for aspiring assailants." User Abu Marya al-Iraqi posted in Arabic a message calling “for bloody celebrations in the Christian New Year” with the promise that lone wolves would “turn the Christian New Year into a bloody horror movie.”
Vocativ noted, “The information, distributed in a number of posts, was all previously available online and includes a public directory of churches across all 50 states. (Vocativ does not publish specific information found in lists like these.)”
“The sons of Islam” were directed to target “churches, well-known hotels, crowded coffee shops, streets, markets and public places” in the U.S., Canada, France, and the Netherlands.
Berlin was one such target for which ISIS has claimed responsibility. The terrorist organization called the 20-year-old Tunisian suspect Anis Amri, who is still on the loose, a “soldier of the Islamic State” who followed their orders “to target coalition countries.” Amri is suspected of killing 12 people and injuring 48 as he rammed a truck into the crowd gathered at a Christmas market.
Lists like these are not new for ISIS, as Vocativ points out. Back in June, a similar list surfaced that had over 8,000 names and addresses, including U.S. law enforcement, yet no known attacks were reported.