ISIS is planning attacks on nearly 80 United States and NATO military air bases around the globe and has also gathered information on 21 individuals who may be targeted for death by the militant terrorist group, according to a breaking new report from the South Korean National Intelligence Service.
Sophisticated computer hackers working for the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria — also known as ISIL or Daesh — have used digital networks to gather details on 77 air bases, including United States bases in South Korea, the NIS discovered, according to a report by the Korea JoongAng Daily newspaper on Sunday.
— Brig Tarik Niazai (@defiance4x4x4) June 20, 2016
The ISIS-linked hacker group, calling itself the United Cyber Caliphate, gathered the data, including location coordinates of the 77 U.S. and NATO air bases, and has distributed it to ISIS fighters and agents in numerous countries around the world via the secure and widely available messaging app Telegram.
Telegram would be a preferred technology of the ISIS-linked hackers because the app advertises itself as offering “heavily encrypted” messages sent across “distributed” servers, meaning that the exact location where any given message originated would be extremely difficult to trace.
The Telegram app also allows users to send messages with a “self-destruct” timer that causes the messages to erase themselves, adding another layer of security that could prove useful to covert terrorist groups such as ISIS, as well as ordinary users intent on guarding the privacy of their instant text messages.
Watch a full report with details on the new intelligence report revealing ISIS targeting U.S. military bases for attacks in the video by the South Korean English-language news network Arirang News below.
Among the 21 individuals identified as attack targets in the secret ISIS text messages are a single South Korean employee of what was described as a “welfare agency” by the U.S.-based news channel CNN.
The South Korean government now has that individual, whose name, address, and email information was released by ISIS hackers over Telegram, under protection, CNN reported.
South Korea has deported 50 suspected terrorists from groups such as ISIS over the past five years, the country’s intelligence service said in a statement over the weekend, and according to South Korea’s prime minister, if the new report is accurate, it would not be the first time that ISIS has placed South Korea in its sites.
“The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has been citing South Korea as a potential target for its attacks since last September,” said Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn.
Hwang added that his country’s intelligence and security services were now stepping up investigations of suspected terrorist activities in South Korea.
Isis using Telegram to target US air bases in South Korea, intelligence agency warns – International Business Time… https://t.co/N3H13MTLP4
— Kilian Julianus (@KilianJulianus) June 20, 2016
The South Korean NIS said that ISIS has targeted the United States Osan and Kunsan Air Force bases for attacks. Both bases have been in operation since the Korean War, with Kunsan Air Force base flying its first missions in 1951, and Osan in 1953.
While the United States Forces in Korea said that terror alert levels had not been officially raised at the bases, the U.S. military is prepared for the possibility of terrorist attacks, as well as potential military attacks from North Korea — the original reason that the United States military maintains a strong presence in South Korea continuously since the cease fire that ended fighting on the Korean peninsula in 1954.
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The Korean War began on June 25, 1950, when North Korea, which was then aligned with the Soviet Union, invaded the United States-backed South Korea, sending an estimated 78,000 troops across the dividing line between the two Koreas.
“Through constant vigilance and regular exercises with our South Korean counterparts, we remain prepared to respond at any time to any emerging threats,” the U.S. Forces in Korea said in a statement, responding to the new threat of ISIS attacks on the U.S. military.
[Image via ISIS Militant Media Arm]