A laptop allegedly belonging to the Islamic State (IS) militants has been found in Syria and contains documents with instructions on how to build chemical weapons and use diseases such as the plague for warfare purposes. The computer was found at an abandoned IS base in the town of Idlib in Syria by a moderate Syrian rebel group. The computer remained in the possession of the commander of the group, Abu Ali. Recently journalists working for the Foreign Policy Journal gained access to the computer, where it was discovered that Islamic State militants have planned to use diseases such as bubonic plague for warfare against Jews and those who do not believe in Islam.
The information retrieved from the laptop by the journalists was released in an article published by Foreign Policy Journal on Thursday, describing the computer as the “terror laptop of doom.” The commander of the rebel group gave the journalists access to the laptop, unaware of the information the computer contained. At first the laptop seemed blank, with all of the computer drives empty. Yet, the computer was full of 146 gigabytes of hidden information, including documents in the French, English and Arabic languages. The commander for the Syrian rebel group gave journalists permission to copy the files for further investigation.
It is believed that the laptop belonged to a Tunisian national who was fighting along with Islamic State militants. According to one of the documents found on the computer, the owner was a university student in Tunisia, extensively studying chemistry and physics. When contacted, his university confirmed that the owner had been a student there in the past. In 2011, the university lost track of the student. According to the statement released by Tunisian foreign minister in June, at least 2,400 Tunisian nationals are believed to be fighting in Syria and Iraq, with the majority of the radicals belonging to the ruthless militant group called the Islamic State.
A 19-page document in Arabic outlines the details of use of bubonic plague in biological warfare. The document outlines the plan on how to take the disease from animals and how to safely test it before commencing use of the biological weapons in terror attacks. The document suggests that grenades with the plague virus should be detonated in enclosed spaces, ideally near air conditioning to encourage the spread of the virus. The symptoms include swollen lymph nodes, fever, muscle aches and fatigue. Without immediate treatment the disease usually results in death.
Another document which was retrieved from the computer is the 26-page Islamic ruling, commonly known as fatwa. The document was written by Nasir al-Fahd, and supports the use of chemical weapons against anyone who does not believe in Islam. The non-believers are called ‘kafirs’ and the fatwa states that if Muslims are unable to defeat kafir in any other way, then it is permissible to use various weapons of mass destruction even if it results in genocide. Nasir al-Fahd is an influential Saudi jihadist cleric, and was jailed in 2003 in Saudi Arabia following a string of deadly suicide bombings which killed 34 people. Nasir al-Fahd has authored several notorious fatwas which encourage weapons of mass destruction and genocide, however has since withdrawn some of them on national television where he described them as a grave mistake.
Other documents retrieved from the laptop include the instructions on how to travel undetected by using various disguises, how to build chemical weapons and create explosives.
As the Islamic State gains control over larger areas, the fear that they will use weapons of mass destruction increases. In July, the extremists seized a factory in Iraq which has been used to make chemical weapons by Saddam Hussein’s forces. While it is believed that no weapons were left on site prior to the attack, the Islamic State also has control over the University of Mosul and several laboratories in Syria and Iraq. This increases the chances of scientists using their knowledge to spread deadly diseases, such as the plague, in order to create a caliphate. In July, the Islamic State militants allegedly used chemical weapons against Kurdish fighters in Syria.
By Ivelina Kunina