NEW YORK (Christian Examiner) – The Islamic State has issued a warning to American and British churches in the wake of the killing of a French Catholic priest in his church last month, according to a report from Charisma News.
The message is chilling: You are next.
According to the report, which references the SITE Intelligence Group's analysis of the communications of computer hackers who support the Islamic State's advance, ISIS loyalists have since the beginning of the year produced several "kill lists" with the names of as many as 15,000 Americans who are, in some fashion, to be eliminated.
The names are not exclusively those of Christians, but most are said to be "crusaders" – a common reference to westerners almost exclusively seen as Christians by ISIS.
According to SITE, 3,600 New York residents are on the list. There are 1,543 Texans on the list, as well as people in California and Florida.
Large cities are also listed as targets in other ISIS communications. Those include London, New York and Washington, D.C. Several photographs show the cities in various states of destruction. One photograph shows the Statue of Liberty in flames. It bears the caption in broken English:
"Our battle on your land has not started yet, be upon you only waiting."
ISIS is urging its followers, especially "lone wolves" who have pledged allegiance to the terror group, to target churches belonging to "Christian crusaders."
The presence of the so-called "kill lists" became known earlier this year when their existence was made public, not by the government but by computer hackers. However, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has not notified the vast majority of the people on the various lists.
Circa News reports that only certain, high-profile persons on the listed were notified of the danger. So the news service did the next best thing. It decided to check with individuals on the list to see if they were aware of the death warrant ISIS had issued for them.
Of the 24 people Circa News contacted, 22 were unaware that they were on the list, apparently compiled mostly from online church directory listings.
But others were there as well, such as Michael Synder of Charisma News. He said the FBI informed him and his wife they were on the list, and they later found out that their pastor and other church members were also on the list.
Members of the Jewish community are also on the lists.
A technology startup in Israel has also reportedly uncovered the latest iterations of the kill lists. According to one recent report, the company – IntSights – uncovered multiple lists while data mining for jihadist activity.
Interestingly, the church where a Catholic priest was recently murdered in front of the church altar was on one of the lists.
"This proves beyond any doubt that there is a direct link between cyber activity and actual terror attacks," the company's Vice President for Intelligence Alon Arvatz said.
Americans can find out if their name is on the list by clicking here.