A dusty laptop snatched from an Islamic State hideout stashed thousands of documents about how to carry out the jihadist militants' deadly domination – including biological weapons of mass destruction using bubonic plague from infected animals, Foreign Policy
"Use small grenades with the virus, and throw them in closed areas like metros, soccer stadiums, or entertainment centers," one 19-page document advises. "Best to do it next to the air-conditioning. It also can be used during suicide operations."
The discovery was made by a moderate Syrian rebel group during a January raid after the militants had fled, Foreign Policy reports.
A commander in the rebel group, Abu Ali, told Foreign Policy the attack occurred in a village in the Syrian province of Idlib, close to the Turkey border.
"We found the laptop and the power cord in a room," he said. "I took it with me. But I have no clue if it still works or if it contains anything interesting."
The Dell laptop wasn't password protected and the drives initially appeared empty, Foreign Policy reported. But buried in the "hidden files" section of the computer were 146 gigabytes of material, containing a total of 35,347 files in 2,367 folders, which included documents in French, English, and Arabic.
Foreign Policy reported it was allowed to copy the material onto an external hard drive.
The contents provided "ideological justifications for jihadi organizations — and practical training on how to carry out the Islamic State's deadly campaigns," Foreign Policy reports, including videos of Osama bin Laden, manuals on how to make bombs, instructions for stealing cars, "and lessons on how to use disguises in order to avoid getting arrested while traveling from one jihadi hot spot to another."
The documents also indicate the laptop's owner – a former Tunisian chemistry and physics student – was teaching himself "about the use of biological weaponry, in preparation for a potential attack that would have shocked the world," Foreign Policy reports.
The 19-page document in Arabic describes how to develop biological weapons and how to weaponize the bubonic plague from infected animals, remarking, "The advantage of biological weapons is that they do not cost a lot of money, while the human casualties can be huge."
The document also includes instructions for how to test the biological weapon safely, Foreign Policy reports.
"When the microbe is injected in small mice, the symptoms of the disease should start to appear within 24 hours," the document says.
Also, the data includes a 26-page fatwa, or Islamic ruling, on the usage of weapons of mass destruction.
"If Muslims cannot defeat the [unbelievers] in a different way, it is permissible to use weapons of mass destruction," states the fatwa by Saudi jihadi cleric Nasir al-Fahd, who is currently imprisoned in Saudi Arabia, according to Foreign Policy. "Even if it kills all of them and wipes them and their descendants off the face of the Earth."
A staffer at a Tunisian university listed on the laptop owner's exam papers said he studied chemistry and physics, but that the university lost track of him after 2011, Foreign Policy reports.
Al-Qaida had experimented with a chemical weapons program in Afghanistan as early as 2002, Foreign Policy notes. CNN
obtained a tape showing al-Qaida members testing deadly poison gas on three dogs.
"The real difficulty in all of these weapons ... [is] to actually have a workable distribution system that will kill a lot of people," Magnus Ranstorp, research director of the Center for Asymmetric Threat Studies at the Swedish National Defense College, told Foreign Policy.
"But to produce quite scary weapons is certainly within [the Islamic State's] capabilities."
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