At a Glance | May 15

Al-Qa’ida: Usama Bin Ladin’s Son Calls for Suicide Attacks in the United States and Against Jewish Interests

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In an audio message on May 13, Hamza bin Ladin, the son of former al-Qa’ida leader Usama bin Ladin, offers advice to “martyrdom-seekers in the West” and urges them to prioritize their targets. He assigns the highest priority to "anyone who insults our religion," followed by “Jewish interests everywhere,” “American crusaders,” NATO coalition countries, and Russia.  In the audio message, which was embedded in a 10-minute video released by al-Qa’ida’s media arm, as-Sahab, he warns the United States that attacks are coming. “We shall continue to target you until you withdraw your forces from the Arabian Peninsula and from every single land of Islam,” he says. 

Hamza, now about 28 years old (photo shows artist’s impression of his current appearance), continues the recent policy of al-Qa’ida and ISIS of encouraging extremists to conduct attacks where they are, using simple tactics. In this weekend’s message, he says, “Know that inflicting punishment on Jews and Crusaders where you are present is more vexing and severe for the enemy” than traveling to foreign battlefields. Regarding weapons, he says, “If you are able to get a firearm, well and good. If not, the options are many.” He cites Inspire magazine, published by al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), as a valuable resource.

Hamza bin Ladin’s message comes a week after a video in which AQAP leader Qasim al-Rimi encouraged extremists in the West to conduct “easy and simple” attacks.

Intelligence Community Assesses Homegrown Terrorists Are “Most Frequent and Unpredictable Threat”

Homegrown violent extremists (HVEs) will continue to be the “most frequent and unpredictable” terrorist threat to the US Homeland, according to the Worldwide Threat Assessment, presented to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence last week by Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and other senior Intelligence Community officials. HVEs will continue to be inspired by international terrorist groups’ public calls to conduct attacks in the West. The threat of HVE attacks will persist, and some attacks will probably occur with little or no warning.

ISIS will continue to pose an active terrorist threat to the United States because of its ideological appeal, its media presence, its branches and networks in numerous countries, and its proven ability to direct and inspire attacks against a wide range of targets around the world. However, losses of territory in Iraq and Syria and persistent counterterrorism operations are degrading its strength. The Intelligence Community assesses that ISIS maintains the intent and capability to direct, enable, assist, and inspire international attacks.

School Security: Information Sharing Helps Avert Attack in North Carolina

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A smooth flow of information among law enforcement agencies helped avert a tragedy in Union County, North Carolina, on May 9. Police arrested a student at Forest Hills High School after finding several knives (see photo), a bottle of flammable liquid, fireworks, a dismantled shotgun shell, and a "hit list" with nine to 12 names in his book bag. Investigators believe an attack may have been foiled with minutes to spare.

Investigators say they received a tip from Canadian law enforcement after a girl told police in Thunder Bay, Ontario, about a chat room discussion in which the suspect said he was going to “stab several kids at school today.” The Thunder Bay Police Service notified the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation’s Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAAC), which passed the information to the Union County Sheriff's Office. The school resource officer at Forest Hills High School identified the student and found the knives and other threatening objects.

For more information, please contact NJOHSP's Analysis Bureau at or 609-584-4000.