‘We Took You by Surprise’: Islamic State Lists Exactly Which American and European Landmarks It Plans to Blow Up

An Islamic State group spokesman says the jihadist group aims to “blow up” the White House, Big Ben and the Eiffel Tower on its way to conquering Paris, Rome, Portugal and Spain.

The threat was delivered Thursday by spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani in a nearly 30-minute audio message titled, “So They Kill And Are Killed.” The title refers to a verse in the Koran.

“We want, Allah willing, Paris before Rome and before Al-Andalus [Spain and Portugal], [and] after that we will blacken your life and blow up your White House, Big Ben, and the Eiffel Tower, Allah willing,” Adnani said.

In this Monday, June 16, 2014 file photo, demonstrators chant pro-Islamic State group slogans as they wave the group's flags in front of the provincial government headquarters in Mosul, 225 miles northwest of Baghdad, Iraq. (AP Photo, File)
Demonstrators chant pro-Islamic State group slogans as they wave the group’s flags in front of the provincial government headquarters in Mosul, Iraq, June 16, 2014. (AP Photo, File)

He also offered a list of sites further east the group aims to conquer: “We want Kabul, Karachi, the Caucasus, Qom, Riyadh and Tehran. We want Baghdad, Damascus, Jerusalem, Cairo, Sanaa, Doha, Abu Dhabi and Amman. And Muslims shall return to ruling and leadership everywhere.”

The Middle East Media Research Institute, which translated the message, observed that the spokesman was trying to boost the morale of Islamic State fighters in light of recent attacks against them by U.S.-led coalition forces and local opponents.

The spokesman said that the extremist group would ultimately prevail despite recent losses it has sustained, emphasizing that its enemies had underestimated its strength, only to come to the realization when it was too late.

Adnani’s message officially welcomed Boko Haram’s pledge of allegiance to the Islamic State group and invited Muslims to join the jihad in western Africa.

Adnani devoted part of his message to Christians and Jews, telling them they have two options to be accepted under Islamic caliphate rule, which he asserted would one day spread to Saudi Arabia and Jerusalem: convert to Islam or pay the jizya poll tax.

“We took you by surprise,” the spokesman said, addressing Jews and “crusaders,” referring to Christians.

MEMRI noted that the title of the audio message, “So They Kill And Are Killed,” refers to verse 9:111 in the Koran, which reads:

Indeed, Allah has purchased from the believers their lives and their properties [in exchange] for that they will have Paradise. They fight in the cause of Allah, so they kill and are killed. [It is] a true promise [binding] upon Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur’an. And who is truer to his covenant than Allah? So rejoice in your transaction which you have contracted. And it is that which is the great attainment.

The Long War Journal, which tracks Islamist movements, reported that Adnani tried to paint a rosy picture of life under the Islamic State.

There “is no polytheism or paganism or nationalism or patriotism or polytheist democracy or disbelieving secularism” in the caliphate, he said according to a translation by the SITE Intelligence Group.

That idyllic vision emphasized racial equality.

“There is no difference between an Arab and a non-Arab, nor between black and white,” the spokesman said. “Here, the American fraternizes with the Arab, and the African with the European, and the Eastern with the Western.”