A pro-ISIS media group known as the Wafa’ Media Foundation is now circulating a poster that shows a vehicle moving toward the Vatican with a cache of weapons, vowing “Christmas blood.”
“So wait…” are the only other words on the poster.
The illustration depicts an unseen driver’s point of view from a BMW driving down Via della Conciliazione, as it approaches St. Peter’s Basilica. There is a rifle, a handgun and a backpack on the passenger seat, and in the rearview mirror, a masked face.
The holiday season is a favorite time of year for ISIS followers to attack. For example, the 2015 attack by Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik in San Bernardino County was at a Christmas party. And last December’s truck attack by Anis Amri happened at the Berlin Christmas market.
The Wafa’ Media Foundation released a PR poster last week, titled, “The Specter of Terrorism.” Written in English, it said, “You will pay very expensive price for your war on Islam. We will take revenge for the blood of Muslims on your land, we will kill the young before the older watch this.”
Another recent poster was labeled “Manhattan,” and had a backdrop of burning, crumbling skyscrapers and a semi-truck — significantly larger than the flatbed pickup Sayfullo Saipov rented from Home Depot — and showed a masked, armed jihadist standing before the scene. This jihadist wielded a rifle, while Saipov brandished a paintball gun and a pellet gun. He also had a stun gun in his truck.
“O worshippers of the cross in USA,” the poster stated. “Our lone wolves will come to you from where you do not know and we will terrorize you wherever you are and we will show you multitudes of terror and pain that you showed to the Muslims, and what is coming is more bitter and greater.”
In early October, Wafa’ called for lone-wolf attacks in the style of the Las Vegas mass shooting. They also praised the June 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting after it happened.
In an August ISIS video showing an attack on a Catholic church in the Philippines, jihadists toppled a large crucifix and stomped on it. They also toppled and smashed statues of Jesus, Mary and saints, tore up photos of Pope Francis and Pope Benedict XVI, and set fire to the parish.
One of the jihadists, vowing, “[W]e will make more revenge,” held aloft a photo of Pope Francis. “We will be in Rome, inshallah,” he says repeatedly, before pointing his gun at the pontiff’s picture.
The ISIS magazine Rumiyah — or Rome, reflecting the group’s apocalyptic vision and ultimate plan to sack the Vatican — hasn’t published a new issue since September. Their early e-book, detailing the Rome conquest strategy, predicted mob bosses would put up tough resistance: “There is no doubt that if Muslims want to take over Italy, the Islamic State European fighters will have to ally with other militias to fight the Mafia before the conquest of Rome.”