Terrorists are trying different ways to wage jihad, but they aren’t getting any smarter. One aspiring terrorist got a little too eager and a little too millennial to get his attack plans off the ground. It didn’t quite work out the way he expected.
Terrorists have utilized the internet for years, and not just to spread their propaganda. Attacks have been planned and coordinated using private message boards and messaging apps, and the dark web has been used to buy and sell materials.
One terrorist, however, was a little too blatant in getting his planned attack against U.S. forces off the ground. He reportedly invented terrorist crowdfunding, when he took to social media to fund his attack on a U.S. airbase in Turkey. And no, he didn’t try a Kickstarter campaign – he went directly to ISIS supporters on social media.
He reportedly asked for funds on a pro-ISIS social media channel to buy a commercial drone. He planned to use the drone to drop a bomb on an American fighter jet at Incirlik airbase. The United States houses significant forces and resources at the base and uses it to attack ISIS in Syria.
The terrorist, Renad Bakiev, is Russian, operated out of Turkey, and was loyal to ISIS. Bakiev was already on Turkey’s radar, after he tried to cross Turkey’s border into Syria earlier this year. He was a little too conspicuous when he went online to seek $700 to buy the drone.
Saagar Enjeti of The Daily Caller has more information on the use of a drone to attack the United States.
ISIS has pioneered the use of armed commercial drones in combat throughout its insurgent campaign in Iraq and Syria. The terrorist group announced the formation of a new drone warfare unit in January, whose sole purpose is to inflict “a new source of horror for the apostates.”
The “Islamic State (IS) employing drones armed with an assortment of different munitions, sometimes in conjunction with other assets, to deadly effect,” a February open-source intelligence study by Bellingcat on ISIS drones notes.
The report continues that the ISIS’s modifications to commercial drones “enable IS to drop theses munitions from drones, often with surprising accuracy, at heights of up to several hundred, possibly even 1,000, feet.”
Georgetown terrorism expert Dr. Bruce Hoffman also warned that drone “swarms” could become a facet of Western terrorist attacks. Hoffman outlined one such scenario, telling readers to “picture Paris on November 13, 2015” — the night when people were killed at a rock concert and in sidewalk cafés — “with drone attacks superimposed on top of it. Authorities would have been completely overwhelmed. This elevates our greatest fear, which is simultaneous urban attacks—now with swarming on top of them.”
Bakiev was eventually arrested by Turkish authorities. It isn’t clear if he ever got his funding, but he reportedly had not yet bought a drone.