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IS is luring youth through labyrinth of Facebook accounts

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Melbourne: Islamic State (IS) recruiters are actively targeting and attempting to recruit Australian teenagers via social media, a study of the Facebook posts of the radical group shows.

The study by surveillance expert Robyn Torok, who has been watching IS recruiters at work on social media since 2010, outlines how the online recruiters cash in on young people’s feelings of alienation, as reported by agencies.

Initially, recruiters identify potential targets by monitoring Facebook conversation threads.

Torok said IS recruiters were targeting teenagers online because they were especially vulnerable as they were trying to establish their identities.

They closely observe their target’s online behaviour, seeing how frequently they post and how they respond to geopolitical issues, and get to know their hobbies and interests.

Then they begin to interact with them, joining in on conversation threads and trying to create a relationship built through common connections.

The recruiter shows empathy when the target reveals emotional problems. They encourage them to talk about their worries and treat them as valid problems.

The recruiter then adds the target as a Facebook friend and begins to talk about political issues, posting comments like “the government is always sticking its nose in Muslim affairs”.

To make their arguments sound more believable, the recruiter may assume many different Facebook identities, all of which support their grievances.

“I have noticed one person who can have 52 different accounts and have 20 friends on one account and they are all the same person,” Torok said.

Two key moments in this process are when the recruiter finally makes the call to Islam, to a target, or invitation to become a Muslim, and when the recruit takes the declaration of faith.

The final stage is when recruiters encourage radical recruits to avenge perceived injustices and empower themselves by taking action.

“But we need to remember that not all radicals become terrorists and not all terrorists are recruited online,” Torok wrote in another article.

The findings were presented recently at a security conference held by Edith Cowan University in Perth.

(IANS)

(Picture credit:ibrabo.wordpress.com )

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The Son Of The Islamic State leader al-Baghdadi Dies: IS

Al-Baghdadi's fate is still unknown

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This image from video posted in July purports to show Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi delivering a sermon in Iraq, July 5, 2014. Islamic State media has announced the death of the leader's son.
This image from video posted in July purports to show Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi delivering a sermon in Iraq, July 5, 2014. Islamic State media has announced the death of the leader's son. VOA

The son of the Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has died in a suicide attack mission in the city of Homs in western Syria, according to the IS media al-Nashir News.

Posting the photograph of a young boy, purportedly Hudhayfah al-Badri, al-Baghdadi’s son, the outlet said he lost his life in an operation against the Russian forces deployed in Homs and the Syrian government forces, referred to as Nusayriyyah by IS.

“Hudhayfah al-Badri (may Allah accept him), the son of the Caliph (may Allah safeguard him), was killed in an inghimasi [suicide] operation against the Nusayriyyah and the Russians at the thermal power station in Homs Willayah,” the news outlet reported.

Inghimasi refers to suicide operations in which a fighter, clad with explosive belt and armed with regular weapons, attacks an enemy position before detonating himself to inflict as much damage on the enemy as possible.

The U.S. military said it has seen the reports of al-Badri’s death but declined any confirmation.

“It would be inappropriate for us to comment on an attack on forces outside the Coalition. We have nothing more to provide,” U.S. Central Command told VOA.

An Iraqi national, al-Baghdadi, whose real name is Ibrahim Awad al-Badri, announced the Islamic State caliphate in the city of Mosul in June 2014 and made himself its caliph. The leader has since become the world’s most wanted man, with a $25 million bounty on his head.

Islamic Terrorism in NYC
Bicycles and debris lay on a bike path after a motorist drove onto the path near the World Trade Center memorial, striking and killing several people, Oct. 31, 2017, in New York. VOA

Al-Baghdadi’s fate is still unknown, with various reports claiming his death and injury several times, including a claim by the Russian Defense Ministry that he might have been hit by a Russian airstrike in 2017.

Those claims have been rejected by U.S. officials and the whereabouts of the elusive leader remain unknown.

Al-Baghdadi’s infamous role in IS has put a spotlight on his family. In March 2014, al-Baghdadi’s wife, Sujidah al-Dulaimi, was released, along with her two sons and daughter, in exchange for 13 nuns taken captive by al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front militants.

Also read: Will the Latest Message From Islamic State Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Provoke New Attacks in the West?

It was reported that only the girl was al-Baghdadi’s daughter. The two boys belonged to a man his wife had married before meeting al-Baghdadi. (IANS)