Overnight, ISIS released a new propaganda video that suggests Australia may be a target for future terrorist attacks. The graphic 20-minute video intersperses confronting footage of executions, artillery attacks, and the devastated bodies of civilians with a chilling voiceover highlighting the recent actions of the group.
In amongst the graphic footage are aerial shots and time-lapse images of famous Melbourne landmarks such as the Melbourne Cricket Ground, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport. The images of Melbourne are preceded by footage of a missile blowing up what appears to be a mosque.
The video comes less than two months after ISIS called on their followers to engage in homegrown lone wolf attacks against Australia in their online magazine, Rumiyah.
The magazine spoke in graphic detail about Australia, referring to the country as “a land cloaked in darkness and corrupted by kufr, fornication, and all forms of vice.”
The writer calls out specific Australian neighborhoods in an attempt to mobilize would be terrorists in the country.
“Light the ground beneath them aflame and scorch them with terror. Kill them on the streets of Brunswick, Broadmeadows, Bankstown, and Bondi. Kill them at the MCG, the SCG, the Opera House, and even in their backyards.”
A call to action is then issued in typically graphic detail.
“Stab them, shoot them, poison them, and run them down with your vehicles. Kill them wherever you find them until the hollowness of their arrogance is filled with terror and they find themselves on their knees with their backs broken under the weight of regret for having waged a war against the believers, and by Allah’s will, and then through your sacrifices, this Ummah will be victorious.”
The publication’s release coincided with the killing of convicted Australian terrorist and ISIS member Ezzit Raad, who was believed to work as a recruiter for the group.
Raad was previously jailed over the foiled 2005 plan to blow up the Melbourne Cricket Ground. However, he fled to the Middle East following his release before Australia began the practice of confiscating the passports of those convicted of terrorism offenses.
Despite the apparent threat, experts have explained that the terrorism warning level in Australia remains unchanged.
Speaking to Channel 7, Federal Minister for Justice Michael Keenan explained, “I don’t think anything’s changed, we have been a specific target because we’re part of the western world and ISIL has essentially declared war on the whole civilised world. What this really shows is how desperate ISIL has become. Australia is at the forefront of the military effort to destroy ISIL, and we are being very effective.”
The release of the latest video is thought to be a response to successful international military operations in the Middle East and a loosening stronghold by ISIS over significant territory like the Iraqi city of Mosul.
Terrorism expert Professor Greg Barton explained that ISIS is attempting to promote homegrown attacks in Australia by showing national landmarks.
“(ISIS) are hoping by putting Australian scenes in a propaganda video, somebody in Melbourne/Sydney will look at that and be tipped over the edge into trying to do something. They’re trying to keep their brand strong. They work on a strategy of not just propaganda to make themselves look big, but also to crowd source attacks.”
Counterterrorism experts suggest that as ISIS loses its stronghold over previously controlled areas of Iraq and Syria, they will increase their push for homegrown attacks in the west.
Victorian and Australian Federal Police are aware of the threats to Melbourne and Australia. The terror threat level remains at “probable,” where it has been since 2014.
[Featured Image by Scott Barbour/Getty Images]