April 04, 2012 Wednesday NC
Al-Qaeda 'coming soon' graphic puts US on high alert
The New York Police Department and the FBI discovered the graphic on the internet on Monday.
It features a photo of the city at sunset with 'Al Qaeda' in bold type followed by 'Coming Soon Again in New York'.
Authorities are trying to identify the source of what appears to be a mock movie poster warning that Al Qaeda wants to come back to New York City.
Both the FBI and the NYPD said investigators have found no evidence so far that the posting represents a credible threat against New Yorkers.
The graphic was seen on several Arabic-language websites, including gulfup.com, according to NYPD spokesman Paul Browne.
Browne said is was posted in the 'artwork and design' section.
It has since spread to numerous extremist forums.
The NYPD wrote in a press alert its Intelligence Division's cyber unit is investigating the origin and significance of the graphic.
'Until more is learned about their origin, we take all threats against New York City seriously,' read the statement.
An FBI spokesman said agents are also investigating.
Spokesman J Peter Donald added: 'The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force is aware of the posting and investigating its authenticity and origin.
'The FBI takes all threats seriously and at his time there is no specific or credible threat to New York.'
The finding comes as Al Qaeda was dealt a blow today after a number of the terror organisation's web forums were shut down in an apparent cyber attack.
According to The Washington Post, five Al Qaeda websites promoting a 'jihad' or holy war against the West have been offline for almost two weeks.
The newspaper claims that the Shumkh al-Islam site was knocked out on March 22 and four other sites have also been disabled since then, although some less-prominent sites are still running.
U.S. officials have denied targeting the propaganda wing of the organisation - the sites are seen as useful sources for intelligence gathering by anti-terror chiefs.
Counter-terrorism expert Will McCants - formerly of the U.S. State Department - told The Post the blackout looked like 'a takedown', however, fueling speculation that the strike may have been launched by a government-backed hacking group.
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