Al-Qa’ida Leader Calls for Jihad Against America

Al-Qa’ida released a video on September 11 of a 30-minute speech with English subtitles called “How to Confront America” through its as-Sahab Media Foundation commemorating the 17th anniversary of the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001. In the 14-point speech, al-Qa’ida’s leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, called for Muslim brothers worldwide to wage jihad against the United States, specifically in the Islamic Maghreb and the Sahara, the Sahel, and West Africa. 

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  • Zawahiri called for unity among Muslims worldwide and continued the tradition of his deceased predecessor, Usama bin Ladin, by stating waging jihad on America will disrupt the country’s economy and cause great military losses, using the wars in Vietnam, Aden (Yemen), Iraq, and Somalia as examples. Zawahiri accused the United States of religious enmity against Islam and referred to America as “the number one enemy of Muslims.”

  • Although al-Qa’ida nor its affiliates have attempted to conduct an attack in the United States since 2009, the number of affiliates has grown since 9/11 with an estimated 25,000 fighters. Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb has been active, while al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula has suffered leadership losses through ongoing drone strikes.

  • Recently, Zawahiri called for unity among Muslims in a video speech entitled “The Battle of Awareness and Will: The Solid Structure.” The five-minute video produced by the as-Sahab Media Foundation was released on August 23. Zawahiri called for all Muslims to unify after decades of fragmentation, presumably referring to ISIS and its failure to maintain a caliphate. 

Implications for New Jersey

While there are no known or credible threats to New Jersey, homegrown violent extremists remain the greatest threat. The upcoming holiday season is marked with numerous festivals, outdoor gatherings, and large-scale events that offer attractive targets for terrorist organizations and extremists. 

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

Homegrown Violent Extremists (HVEs) in the US, 2017

Homegrown Violent Extremists (HVEs) in the US, 2017

Homegrown violent extremists (HVEs) are individuals inspired—as opposed to directed—by a foreign terrorist organization and radicalized in the countries in which they are born, raised, or reside.

HVEs pose the greatest threat to New Jersey and will likely remain so this year.

Boko Haram

Boko Haram, which translates to “Western education is forbidden,” is an Islamic extremist organization based in northeastern Nigeria that pledged allegiance to ISIS in March 2015. In August 2016, ISIS unilaterally announced that Abu Musab al-Barnawi would replace Abubakar Shekau as the leader of Boko Haram. Shekau refused to cede authority, and Boko Haram militants remain factionalized in their loyalties.

2018 Terrorism Threat Assessment

2018 Terrorism Threat Assessment

The 2018 Terrorism Threat Assessment is designed to give our customers an understanding of the terrorist threat to New Jersey this year. As we continue into 2018, NJOHSP will build upon this assessment through briefings, written products, and webinars to provide analysis that is relevant, timely, accurate, and insightful.

Terrorist Organizations Continue Kidnapping Operations in Africa

Terrorist organizations in North Africa—namely al-Shabaab, al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and Boko Haram—continue to kidnap Westerners for political leverage and fundraising, potentially
impacting business operations for New Jersey-based companies with locations in the region.
At this time, NJOHSP has no specific or credible information that these groups are explicitly targeting New Jersey companies or their employees.

Hizballah: Recent Arrests Reveal Pre-Operational Planning

On June 1, federal authorities arrested two individuals tied to Hizballah’s Islamic Jihad Organization (IJO)—which is responsible for planning intelligence-gathering, counterintelligence, and terrorist activities on behalf of the group internationally—for attempting to provide material support, among other charges. Ali Mohamad Kourani conducted surveillance on a variety of targets in New York City, including FBI offices, an Army National Guard facility, a US Secret Service facility, a US Army armory, and John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport.

Extremists Poised to Continue Using Vehicles in Operations (UPDATED)

Extremists Poised to Continue Using Vehicles in Operations (UPDATED)

Terrorists—particularly homegrown violent extremists (HVEs)—will likely continue using vehicles as weapons based on foreign terrorist organizations promoting this tactic, the success of past attacks, and the ease of vehicle acquisition. An NJOHSP review of vehicle-ramming attacks in the West over the last 10 years shows increases in this tactic and resulting casualties.