A mockery movie poster that reads “Al-Qaeda Coming Soon Again in New York,” is being investigated by the NYPD. The graphic poster seems to have appeared Monday on several Arabic language forums connected to Al-Qaeda like gulfup.com and Ansar al Mujahiddin Arabic Forums.
The graphic is being widely spread across many extremist forums, raising concerns about whether it constitutes a real threat to New York City. No doubt, it also brings back terrible memories to Americans, and New Yorkers specifically.
The captioned image showed the sunset over the Manhattan skyline. The image was posted in the "art and design" section of different forums. Although these forums are not traditionally the place for posting real threats, officials are still not taking the matter lightly.
NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said: “Until more is learned about their origin, we take all threats against New York city seriously.” Taking any little threat to security very seriously has been the motto since the September 11 attacks on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Virginia.
The FBI is also investigating the matter. “The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force is aware of the posting and investigating its authenticity and origin,” said J. Peter Donald the FBI spokesman.
The most popular Al-Qaeda forum “Shumukh Al-Islam” has been down since March 22, along with four other websites. It is the longest period the website had stopped operating since it was set up eight years ago. There was no explanation provided for the site blackout and no person or organization has claimed responsibility for any hacking.
An administrator of one of the other functioning websites wrote: "The media arena is witnessing a vicious attack by the cross and its helpers on the jihadi media castles."
Osama Bin Laden was killed in U.S. drone attack in May last year, about 60km north of Islamabad in Pakistan. The body was taken to Afghanistan and later buried at sea. His death was celebrated widely all over the U.S. On the other hand, Bin Laden’s killing triggered threats against the U.S. from leaders in Al-Qaeda and other extremists groups.
In the same week of the attacks, a statement by Al-Qaeda was released on militant websites by Al-Qaeda's online media distribution network, Al-Fajr Center. The statement carried clear threats againts the U.S., “Soon, God willing, their happiness will turn to sadness and their blood will be mingled with tears,” it said. The statement also stressed that the organization will keep functioning as Bin Laden built it to last after his death.
It is still unclear at this point whether the recent events and threats are related to Bin Laden's killing, or if the threats are even credible. Further investigations by the authorities should provide more information on the seriousness of the threats.