Laptop of Islamic State Member Reveals Plans for WMD

Tunisian jihadi's computer was captured in northern Syria by pro-Western rebels.

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This undated file photo posted by the Raqqa Media Center, a Syrian opposition group, on Monday, June 30, 2014, shows Islamic State fighters in Raqqa. Credit: AP

A laptop recovered from a Syrian building used by militants from the Islamic State group (previously known as ISIS) contains plans to develop and use biological weapons, according to the authoritative website

Captured by pro-Western rebels in northern Syria earlier this year, the laptop contains what Foreign Policy describes as "a treasure trove of documents that provide ideological justifications for jihadi organizations -- and practical training on how to carry out the Islamic State's deadly campaigns."

Foreign Policy said that its journalists were given free access to the laptop by the rebels who captured it. Among the items they found were "videos of Osama bin Laden, manuals on how to make bombs, instructions for stealing cars, and lessons on how to use disguises in order to avoid getting arrested while traveling from one jihadi hot spot to another."

But of greatest interest, according to the website, was a 19-page document in Arabic on how to develop biological weapons and how to weaponize the bubonic plague from infected animals.

The owner of the laptop was a Tunisian national named Muhammed S., who joined the Islamic State group in Syria after studying chemistry and physics at two universities in Tunisia's northeast. He was one of an estimated 2,400 Tunisians who have left the country to fight in Syria.

"The advantage of biological weapons is that they do not cost a lot of money, while the human casualties can be huge," the document reportedly states.

The document includes instructions for how to test the weaponized disease safely, before it is used in a terrorist attack. "When the microbe is injected in small mice, the symptoms of the disease should start to appear within 24 hours," the document says.

It also includes advice on how to use them: "Use small grenades with the virus, and throw them in closed areas like metros, soccer stadiums, or entertainment centers," the file advises. "Best to do it next to the air-conditioning. It also can be used during suicide operations."

The laptop also includes a 26-page fatwa, or Islamic ruling, on the usage of weapons of mass destruction. "If Muslims cannot defeat the kafir [unbelievers] in a different way, it is permissible to use weapons of mass destruction," states the fatwa by Saudi jihadi cleric Nasir al-Fahd, who is currently imprisoned in Saudi Arabia. "Even if it kills all of them and wipes them and their descendants off the face of the Earth."

Nothing on the laptop suggests that the jihadists already possess chemical or biological weapons.

Foreign Policy speculates that the Islamic State's sweeping gains in recent months "may have provided it with the capacity to develop such new and dangerous weapons. Members of the jihadi group are not solely fighting on the front lines these days - they also control substantial parts of Syria and Iraq. The fear now is that men like Muhammed could be quietly working behind the front lines - for instance, in the Islamic State-controlled University of Mosul or in some laboratory in the Syrian city of Raqqa, the group's de facto capital - to develop chemical or biological weapons."