On Aug. 19, a young man went on a stabbing rampage in the Russian city of Surgat. Eight people were wounded before the attacker was shot and killed by authorities. The Islamic State’s Amaq News Agency quickly claimed that the stabbings were carried out by one of the caliphate’s “soldiers” in “response to calls to target citizens of the Crusader nation coalition,” a standard formulation used after a series of previous attacks.
Two days later, on Aug. 21, Furat media (an Islamic State propaganda arm) released a short video featuring the terrorist responsible for the Surgat assault. The jihadist, identified as Masa’ud al Surghuti (seen above), swears allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, whom he addresses as the “Emir of the Believers” and the caliph. Al Surghuti calls upon supporters to lash out with the simplest weapons they can find, including household tools.
Furat media’s video, titled “Blood for Blood,” opens with a scene of a Russian child, Khattab ar-Rusi (seen below), beheading a captive. The child was featured alongside other minors in previous Islamic State productions. The group regularly makes children commit such shocking acts and has developed a program, named “Cubs of the Caliphate,” to brainwash minors.
The video then cuts to security footage of the attack in Surgat and its aftermath, including an image of the dead terrorist laying on the ground.
In the immediate aftermath of the stabbings, Russian authorities downplayed reports that it was an act of terrorism. Russian investigators said they were looking into the assailant’s “possible psychiatric disorders” and said terrorism was not their “main” theory of the case, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP).
But Furat’s video establishes that the young man had online ties, at a minimum, to the so-called caliphate. He was able to record and send his oath of allegiance to the Islamic State’s propagandists before meeting his demise. Of course, he could very well have been mentally ill and a jihadist, as the two are not mutually exclusive.
Furat’s video is similar to previous releases by the Islamic State. Throughout 2016, Amaq News Agency produced videos of terrorists swearing allegiance to Baghdadi before a string of attacks.
Such clips are not released after most attacks claimed by the group. In some cases, there is no public statement of fealty to the so-called caliphate. In other instances, terrorists have professed their allegiance to Baghdadi and his so-called caliphate online or in phone calls, but their stated allegiance was not first released by the Islamic State. For example, Omar Mateen, who massacred 49 people at an Orlando nightclub in June 2016, repeatedly swore his allegiance to Baghdadi during conversations with authorities on the night of his rampage. The couple responsible for the Dec. 2015 San Bernardino killings also referenced their bayat (oath of allegiance) to Baghdadi on social media.
The Islamic State videos disseminated after several small-scale attacks have helped the group bolster its claims of responsibility. Indeed, authorities determined in a number of cases that the terrorists were “remote-controlled” by Islamic State handlers living in the lands of the self-declared caliphate.
Similar videos of terrorists swearing allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi
The videos listed below featured jihadists who recorded their bayat to Baghdadi prior to their day of terror and the clips were then released online by the Islamic State.
On July 18, 2016, an Afghan teenage refugee bordered a train in the German city of Würzburg and hacked at passengers. The teenager, identified as Muhammad Riyad, brandished a knife in an Amaq video as he swore his loyalty to Baghdadi.
On July 24, 2016, a veteran jihadist from Syria blew himself up, perhaps accidentally, outside of a music festival in Ansbach, Germany. More than a dozen people were injured. The bomber, identified as Mohammad Daleel, rehearsed the oath of allegiance to Baghdadi in an Amaq video released online two days after his attack.
On July 26, 2016, a pair of jihadists assaulted a church during morning mass in Normandy, France, killing an elderly priest and taking several people hostage before being gunned down by police. Amaq’s video showed the two performing the oath of allegiance to Baghdadi shortly before carrying out the murder.
On Aug. 17, 2016, two young jihadists, identified as Uthman Mardalov and Salim Israilov, assaulted Russian policemen in Balashikha, which is east of Moscow. The pair swore allegiance to Baghdadi in footage that was disseminated by Amaq.
On Dec. 19, 2016, Anis Amri, a Tunisian man, drove a large lorry into a crowded Christmas market in Berlin. Twelve people were killed in his vehicular assault. Days later, Amri was subsequently killed during a shootout with Italian police in Milan. Amaq released a video of Amri swearing allegiance to Baghdadi, and US officials discovered that he had ties to Islamic State operatives in Italy.
Screen shots from Amaq’s videos of the Würzburg, Ansbach, Normandy, Balashikha, and Berlin terrorists swearing allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi: