“What awaits you will be harder and more bitter, with Allahs permission”. This is the message from ISIS after today’s attack in Belgium. According to CNN ISIS claimed to strike yet again on European soil Tuesday, saying its “fighters” launched attacks on the airport and a subway station in Belgium’s capital that killed at least 30 people and wounded about 230 more.
A message purportedly sent to supporters of the Islamic State over the anonymous messaging app Telegram on Tuesday warned the group’s “brothers in Belgium” to avoid social media, use “encryption” to communicate and to “keep [a] low profile until the heat dies down.”
The American Enterprise Institute, a nonpartisan public policy research institute, tweeted a graphic on Tuesday detailing how terrorists use encryption, sharing it with the #BrusselsAttack hashtag.
When it comes to social media, the message says to avoid it completely. “Stay away from social media websites, don’t share any information with your brothers right now,” it says. The message also includes more general advice, such telling jihadis that they should “be ready to act,” “change your location as soon as possible” and “keep calm.”
If authentic, the message reveals a rarely-seen glimpse into how the group and its supporters race to clean their digital tracks in the wake of massive attacks.
The atmosphere in Belgium has been tense for months, with the authorities warning of possible threats and pursuing terrorists. Tuesday’s attacks followed on the heels of last week’s capture of Europe’s most wanted man, Salah Abdeslam, in a bloody raid in Brussels.
The “working assumption” is that the attackers came from the network behind November’s massacres in Paris, which left 130 dead, Belgian security sources said, while cautioning it is very early in the latest investigation.