The Islamic state (IS) has issued a threat once again, this time targeting eight countries, including Belgium, according to several media outlets. The threat message was broadcast on Wednesday evening via the channels of the terrorist organisation and thus seems “authentic” according to Pieter Van Ostaeyen, a Belgian expert specialising in international jihad. However, it is difficult to judge whether the threat should be taken seriously. The Coordination Unit for Threat Analysis (OCAM) is conducting the investigation.
The message, written in poor English, advises Muslims to stay away from public places such as markets, streets and car parks because “Caliphate soldiers will blow up, crush people and slash their throats”. It is addressed to Muslims living in eight countries: Belgium, the United States, Russia, France, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Italy.
The fact that the message is written in “pitiful” English strikes Pieter Van Ostaeyen as being a significant fact. “The quality of their communication is deteriorating. Those who were proficient in English may have left or died”, said the terrorism expert. The message was relayed by the official channel of the IS and therefore seems authentic, he adds.
The second part of the message is written in much better English and is, according to Mr Van Ostaeyen, an old threat from Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, the former spokesman for the IS, who was allegedly killed last year.
It is very difficult to judge whether the threat should be taken seriously. “This is not the first time that such a threat message has been broadcast, and the OCAM examines such messages every time.” At the moment, the level of threat remains three”, said the minister’s spokesman of the interior, Jan Jambon.