New York: Al Qaeda is preparing to launch its first online propaganda newspaper in English, a move that could help the terror group recruit inside the US and Europe.
The group has begun promoting the paper, called Inspire, with animated online graphics promising "special gift to the Islamic nation”.
Counterterrorism officials and terror analysts say it will be run by al Qaeda`s branch in Yemen, which has been linked to the failed Christmas Day bombing attempt of a US-bound airliner.
The launch suggests that, as al Qaeda`s core has been weakened by CIA drone airstrikes, the group hopes to broaden its reach inside the US, where officials have seen a spate of home-grown terrorists.
The new publication "is clearly intended for the aspiring jihadist in the US or UK who may be the next Fort Hood murderer or Times Square bomber," Bruce Riedel, a Brookings Institution scholar and former CIA officer, said.
At the heart of that effort is Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical US-born cleric now living in Yemen. Authorities say his online sermons, in English, have inspired several recent terrorist plots in the United States. Al Qaeda`s advertisement says al-Awlaki will contribute to the first issue.
Until now, al Qaeda has relied on Arabic websites to carry its message. Now it appears to be capitalising on its recent success recruiting inside the US.
Using propaganda on the Internet, the terrorist group has been able to attract Americans such as Bryant Neal Vinas and Najibullah Zazi, two admitted al Qaeda terrorists. Both were radicalised in New York and travelled to Pakistan to join the fight against the US.