January 15, 2008
U.S. officials monitoring terrorist web sites have discovered a call for using forest fires as weapons against “crusader” nations, in what may explain some recent wildfires in places like southern California and Greece.
A terrorist website was discovered recently that carried a posting that called for “Forest Jihad.” The posting was listed on the Internet on Nov. 26 and reported in U.S. intelligence channels last week.
The statement, in Arabic, said that “summer has begun so do not forget the Forest Jihad.”
The writer called on all Muslims in the United States, Europe, Russia and Australia to “start forest fires.”
The posting quoted imprisoned Al Qaida terrorist Abu Musab Al-Suri, as saying “Jihad is an art just like poetry, music, and the fine arts. There are people that draw and there are others that are jihadists. They both act upon inspiration.”
Al-Suri is a senior Al Qaida leader captured in Pakistan in 2005 who is believed to be in U.S. custody.
“The idea of forest fires is attributed to him, may God set him free, as is in this short clip,” the writer stated.
The posting said that setting forest fires were legal under extremist Islamic law as part of a “eye for an eye” and that can produce “amazing results.”
Wildfires in California burned more than 500,000 acres beginning in October and authorities said arson was to blame for some of the fires. In August, wildfires broke out in Greece that authorities say were deliberately set.
The writer stated that it was permissible to burn trees in carrying out jihad.
“Scholars have justified chopping down and burning the infidels’ forests when they do the same to our lands,” the writer said.
The writer stated that “targeted forests” are in the nations that “are at war with Muslims,” including the United States, Europe, Russia, and Australia.
Other nations, including Brazil are “off limits” because Brazil has not joined the “armies of the crusade.”
On damage caused by wildfires, the report said that the fires typically take months to put out which means that “this terror will haunt them for an extended period of time.”
The fires also will cause economic damage because it will limit exports of timber used to make furniture and also will cause losses to pharmaceutical companies that use trees for ingredients for drugs, the posting said.
Smoke caused by the fires will create pollution and military forces could be tied up fighting fires. The report noted that U.S. military forces in Iraq or Afghanistan “could even be recalled” as occurred following hurricane Katrina, which did not occur.
“Imagine if, after all the losses caused by such an event, a jihadist organization were to claim responsibility for (starting) the forest fires,” the writer said. “You can hardly begin to imagine the level of the fear that would take hold of people in the United States, in Europe, in Russia, and in Australia.”
The report said that Abu Musab Al-Suri, urges terrorists to use sulphuric acid to start a forest fire, as well as gasoline.
The article was signed by Abu Thar Al-Kuwaiti, on behalf of a group called the Al-Ikhlas Islamic Network.