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A man from Lancashire who encouraged Islamic extremists to wage jihad in the West, including targeting Prince George and injecting poison in to supermarket ice-cream, has been convicted today (31 May).
Husnain Rashid, 32, posted messages online glorifying successful terrorist atrocities committed by others while encouraging and inciting his readers to plan and commit attacks.
One of his posts included a photograph of Prince George, along with the address of his school, a black silhouette of a jihad fighter and the message ìeven the royal family will not be left aloneî.
His common theme was that attacks could be carried out by one individual acting alone. Rashid suggested perpetrators had the option of using poisons, vehicles, weapons, bombs, chemicals or knives. Rashid uploaded terrorist material to an online library he created with the goal of helping others plan an attack.
He also planned to travel to Turkey and Syria with the intention of fighting in Daesh-controlled territories. He contacted individuals he believed to be in Daesh territory, seeking advice on how to reach Syria and how to obtain the required authorisation necessary to join a fighting group.
Rashid provided one individual who had travelled to Syria and was known online as ìRepunzelî, with information about methods of shooting down aircraft and jamming missile systems.
All the offences relate to Rashidís activities online between October 2016 and his arrest in November 2017.
Rashidís trial started on 23 May at Woolwich Crown Court but he changed his plea to guilty on four counts on 31 May. He will be sentenced on 28 June.
Sue Hemming from the CPS said: ìHusnain Rashid is an extremist who not only sought to encourage others to commit attacks on targets in the West but was planning to travel aboard so he could fight himself.
ìHe tried to argue that he had not done anything illegal but with the overwhelming weight of evidence against him he changed his plea to guilty.
ìThe judge will now deci
Greater Manchester Police
A man from Lancashire who encouraged Islamic extremists to wage jihad in the West, including targeting Prince George and injecting poison in to supermarket ice-cream, has been convicted today (31 May). Husnain Rashid, 32, posted messages online glorifying successful terrorist atrocities committed by others while encouraging and inciting his readers to plan and commit attacks. One of his posts included a photograph of Prince George, along with the address of his school, a black silhouette of a jihad fighter and the message ìeven the royal family will not be left aloneî. His common theme was that attacks could be carried out by one individual acting alone. Rashid suggested perpetrators had the option of using poisons, vehicles, weapons, bombs, chemicals or knives. Rashid uploaded terrorist material to an online library he created with the goal of helping others plan an attack. He also planned to travel to Turkey and Syria with the intention of fighting in Daesh-controlled territories. He contacted individuals he believed to be in Daesh territory, seeking advice on how to reach Syria and how to obtain the required authorisation necessary to join a fighting group. Rashid provided one individual who had travelled to Syria and was known online as ìRepunzelî, with information about methods of shooting down aircraft and jamming missile systems. All the offences relate to Rashidís activities online between October 2016 and his arrest in November 2017. Rashidís trial started on 23 May at Woolwich Crown Court but he changed his plea to guilty on four counts on 31 May. He will be sentenced on 28 June. Sue Hemming from the CPS said: ìHusnain Rashid is an extremist who not only sought to encourage others to commit attacks on targets in the West but was planning to travel aboard so he could fight himself. ìHe tried to argue that he had not done anything illegal but with the overwhelming weight of evidence against him he changed his plea to guilty. ìThe judge will now deci
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FILE - In this undated file photo released by a militant website, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, militants of the Islamic State group hold up their weapons and wave flags on their vehicles in a convoy on a road leading to Iraq, while riding in Raqqa, Syria. Simultaneous attacks on the Islamic State-held city of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa, the de facto IS capital across the border in eastern Syria, would make military sense: They would make it harder for the extremists to move reinforcements and deny them a safe haven. (Militant website via AP, File)
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FILE - In this undated file photo released by a militant website, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, militants of the Islamic State group hold up their weapons and wave flags on their vehicles in a convoy on a road leading to Iraq, while riding in Raqqa, Syria. Simultaneous attacks on the Islamic State-held city of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa, the de facto IS capital across the border in eastern Syria, would make military sense: They would make it harder for the extremists to move reinforcements and deny them a safe haven. (Militant website via AP, File)
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(FILES) This image grab taken from a propaganda video released on July 5, 2014 by al-Furqan Media allegedly shows the leader of the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, aka Caliph Ibrahim, adressing Muslim worshippers at a mosque in the militant-held northern Iraqi city of Mosul. 
The Russian army on June 16, 2017 said it hit Islamic State leaders in an airstrike in Syria last month and was seeking to verify whether IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been killed. In a statement, the army said Sukhoi warplanes carried out a 10-minute night-time strike on May 28 at a location near Raqa, where IS leaders had gathered to plan a pullout by militants from the group's stronghold.
 / AFP PHOTO / AL-FURQAN MEDIA / --/AFP/Getty Images
(FILES) This image grab taken from a propaganda video released on July 5, 2014 by al-Furqan Media allegedly shows the leader of the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, aka Caliph Ibrahim, adressing Muslim worshippers at a mosque in the militant-held northern Iraqi city of Mosul. The Russian army on June 16, 2017 said it hit Islamic State leaders in an airstrike in Syria last month and was seeking to verify whether IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been killed. In a statement, the army said Sukhoi warplanes carried out a 10-minute night-time strike on May 28 at a location near Raqa, where IS leaders had gathered to plan a pullout by militants from the group's stronghold. / AFP PHOTO / AL-FURQAN MEDIA / --/AFP/Getty Images
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The US and coalition tanked 65 ISIS boats in September alone

ISIS has been using boats to move fighters up and down the river and as waterborne bombs

(CNN) —  

US and allied warplanes have sunk over 100 ISIS boats, destroying 65 of them in September alone, according to the international military coalition.

While Iraq is nearly entirely land-locked, the Tigris and Euphrates rivers that cross that country are navigable, and ISIS has been using watercraft for a variety of purposes, including transporting fighters and conducting improvised explosive attacks.\

The US-led anti-ISIS coalition provided CNN with video of a September 10 airstrike against an ISIS tactical unit aboard a boat near Bayji, Iraq.

Barges, skiffs and motorized watercraft have been observed operating along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers for the purpose of ferrying ISIS fighters and equipment across the rivers, Operation Inherent Resolve spokesperson Col. Joseph Scrocca told CNN, adding that it happens often when anti-ISIS Iraqi troops control the area’s bridges. Coalition bombs have also targeted bridges used by ISIS, thereby further necessitating the terror group’s reliance on boats.

“They have also been used by Daesh for waterborne improvised explosive device attacks,” the spokesperson added, using another name for the terror group.

A US Apache attack helicopter in July destroyed one such waterborne IED, a boat full of explosives. The vessel was attempting to remove a newly built Iraqi bridge spanning the Tigris River, according to the US military.

“It destroyed the boat so it didn’t go attack the bridge,” US Army Col. Christopher Garver, a spokesman for the military coalition against ISIS, told reporters in August.

But while the US and its allies have been striking ISIS boats for months, the last few weeks have seen a major uptick in the number that have been sunk, with over 50 destroyed on September 16 and 14. Those strikes occurred near the towns of Qayyara and Sultan Abdallah, which lie along the Tigris River south of the ISIS-held city of Mosul.

Experts think that the increase in the rate of strikes is tied to the upcoming effort by the US and Iraq to retake Mosul, which military officials have said could start as early as October.

The Tigris River in Iraq
Mario Tama/Getty Images
The Tigris River in Iraq

As part of its defensive efforts, “ISIS is going to try and move fighters up and down the river,” retired US Navy Cdr. Chris Harmer told CNN.

Harmer thinks the US is attempting to scuttle the ISIS vessels in particular so that the group can’t position its forces via the water. The Tigris River runs directly through the heart of Mosul, dividing Iraq’s second-largest city in two.

He also called the boats an “easy target in terms of avoiding civilian casualties” for the US.

ISIS, he said, might try to destroy bridges to slow the Iraqi military’s assault on Mosul, noting that “a speedboat with 1,000 kilograms of explosives going into a bridge” is a lot harder to defend against than a conventional IED that would have to be set by ISIS operatives on foot.

Historically control of the two rivers has been critical to Iraqi military campaigns. During World War I, the British used small armed river boats traveling up the Tigris and Euphrates in its campaign against the Ottoman Turks.

Harmer, now the senior naval analyst at the Institute for the Study of War in Washington, said that the Iraqi military had never really mastered riverine warfare – fighting on the river – making the coalition’s support all the more essential.

And despite the large number of boats sunk, Harmer thinks ISIS may have no trouble seizing additional vessels from Iraqi fishermen, farmers and others who have used the river for thousands of years.

“There’s always been a steady state of traffic flow on the river,” Harmer said.