ISIS is taking advantage of the California wildfires by encouraging its followers to try arson as a tactic after “revealing” devastation estimates in one of it’s latest newsletters.
“Strong winds hindered the efforts” in fighting the blazes, the terror group noted in al-Naba, a 16-page color newsletter distributed within ISIS territory and online as a PDF, while citing California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection as saying some bodies had been burned beyond recognition and would be difficult to identify. “Thousands of people became homeless,” ISIS said, adding stats from earlier in the week on “the most destructive fire in the history of the state.”
Jihadists were advised to time their arson “preferably in the later part of night to the early hours of morning when people are generally asleep,” and instructions were offered on how to block off exits to inflict casualties. For wildfires, ISIS said to look for dry brush “as fire cannot endure in damp or wet environments.” Arsonists were encouraged to leave the mark of ISIS somewhere near the fire site with spray paint or black marker.
A one-paragraph brief underneath the al-Naba fire report noted President Trump decertifying the nuclear deal with Iran.
The terror group did not mention blazes in Spain and Portugal, a wave authorities have pegged in part as likely arson.
Police recently arrested an arson suspect in Sonoma, but slammed the “really crazy” rumor that he was connected to this month’s massive outbreak of blazes that killed 42 people. “There’s a story out there he’s the arsonist for these fires. That is not the case. There is no indication he is related to these fires at all,” Sonoma County Sheriff Rob Giordano said at a Tuesday news conference. “I just did want to kill that speculation right now so we didn’t have things running too far out of control.”
Jesus Fabian Gonzalez, a transient, told authorities he’d started a small fire at Maxwell Farms Regional Park in Sonoma, where he was known by patrol officers to sleep, in order to keep warm. He was caught walking away with a fire extinguisher and a lighter. The small blaze was quickly extinguished before spreading. He was being held in the Sonoma County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail.