ISIS laptop reveals project to build biological weapons
Foreign Policy reports reveals contents of a laptop found in Syria, laying out instructions for building chemical weapons and detailing attempts to weaponize bubonic plague.
Ynet /Published: 09.01.14/ Israel News
US intelligence officials discovered that one of the world’s nightmare scenarios may have some base in reality as, according to a report in Foreign Policy last Friday, a laptop was recently discovered in war-torn Syria, detailing the attempts and ambitions of the Islamic State (ISIS) to build and use weapons of mass destruction.
According to the report, the computer was discovered in the city of Idlib in north-western Syria, near the Turkish border after fierce battles in which.
Foreign policy said that the computer belonged to a Tunisian national who studied chemistry at two separate universities in his home country before leaving to join ISIS in Syria.
The Syrian rebels who captured Idlib didn’t know what was on the computer or what importance it may have and therefore passed it on to Foreign Policy reporters who initially thought that the laptop was empty.
Only after further investigation did they discover tens of thousands of folders and documents in French, English and Arabic. The computer’s contents were originally unsurprising for a terrorist organization like ISIS. Reporters found old videos of Osama Bin Laden, a guidebook for building a bomb and stealing a vehicle, and how jihadists should use disguises and fake identities to travel from country to country without being caught.
Finally, after hours of filing through the computer’s documents, Foreign Policy reporters found documents proving that the Tunisian had taught himself how to construct biological weapons for attacks that would astound the world.
Perhaps the most alarming of the documents however, detailed ISIS sanctioned work to weaponize the bubonic plague and other viruses that would have an even greater affect than that of a localized chemical attack.
“The benefits of a biological weapon are that it doesn’t come up often, and the losses are massive,” said the instructions on the laptop. “When a mouse is injected by the bacteria, the symptoms of the disease begin to show after 24 hours. It’s best to use in places like underground trains or soccer fields and it can be used in a suicide attack as well.”
Alongside the instructions was also a message of religious approval for the use of such weapons – part of a Fatwa which says that, “If the Muslims can’t overwhelm the infidels in any other way, they are allowed to use weapons of mass destruction to kill everyone and erase them and their descendants from the earth.”
While the idea of ISIS establishing such devastating weapons can easily conjure fear, this isn’t the first time that terrorist organizations have brought the issue of biological weapons to the forefront of the war on extremism.
Even before the September 11 attacks in the US, al-Qaeda was involved in attempts to use chemical weapons in Afghanistan. In a CNN report from 2002, members of the extremist group could be seen using toxic gas on dogs. The US invested substantial efforts to prevent al-Qaeda from getting biological weapons, but the information on the laptop from Syria proves that terrorist organizations are still working to develop such weapons, which can kill thousands of people in one breath. The fear is that the longer ISIS continues to exist, the more specialists may join its ranks and use labs in the areas already capture by ISIS to work toward chemical weapons capabilities. Such labs exist in Mosul in Iraq and Ar Raqqah in Syria, both in the hands of ISIS militants.
Israel downed a drone over Golan after it was identified as a Hizballah Ababil 2
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 31, 2014 /DEBKAfie’s military sources report exclusively that the UAV, shot down Sunday Aug. 31 by an Israeli Patriot battery over Quneitra on the Golan, was launched by Hizballah – not Syria as initially reported. The Iran-made Ababail 2 was on a photography and intelligence-gathering mission over the Golan battleground where the Syrian army and rebels have been fighting for control off the Quneitra crossing between Syria and Israel.
Our sources add that Hizballah launched the unmanned aerial vehicle from a Syrian air base attached to Damascus international airfield, where Hizballah keeps a fleet of Ababil 2 drones transferred from Lebanon.
When the IDF picked up the drone on course for Quneitra, the information was flashed to top Israel government and military decision-makers, who decided on the spot that the Golan military situation was messy enough without a new complicating factor entering the fray. And so it was decided to shoot it down.
Arrayed against Syrian troops on this sliver of land, are at least five insurgent groups, the largest of which is the Syria Revolutionaries Front. Another is the Syrian Al Qaeda offshoot, the Nusra Front. Around 1,100 troops of the UN Disengagement Observer Force are responsible to policing the buffer zone between Syria and Israel that runs through Quneitra.
The Fijian contingent’s 44 members, who were abducted Thursday, Aug. 28 by Al Qaeda, are being held in an unknown location as hostages for a ransom that has not been published.
Our military and intelligence sources reveal that, shortly before the abduction, various intelligence watchers spotted a number of Hizballah officers who had arrived on the scene. It was generally estimated in Israel that the Lebanese Shiites were not planning to join the fighting, but had come out of concern that Syrian rebels would manage to drive Syrian troops out of Quneitra and its surrounding villages, and then break through to the Syrian villages on the Hermon and the Chabaa Farms on the Western slopes of the Hermon range. From there, the way would be open for the Syrian insurgents to reach southern Lebanon and mount another front against Hizballah from the rear.
The Druze villages on the Syrian slopes of the Hermon are loyal to Bashar Assad and appear to be preparing to resist the rebel advance should it take place.
HIzballah sent its drone to bring back firsthand information on the state of play in the struggle for Quneitra, as well as on Israel’s military deployment just across the border. That was one reason for sending an Israeli Patriot into action to down the aircraft. Furthermore, Israel stood by last Thursday, when Syrian warplanes came overhead and bombed rebel positions in the Quneitra crossing, although this was in breach of the 40-year old accord for the separation zone’s demilitarization.
At the same time, Jerusalem relayed a strong warning to Damascus against any recurrence. Next time, Israel would shoot down any intruders. It was therefore important for the IDF to make good on that warning and down the Hizballah drone for the sake of deterrence.