In late July, a Japanese oil tanker was attacked off the coast of the UAE by what appeared to be an al-Qaeda linked terrorist group. Numerous online jihadist forums have now posted an English translation of the claim of responsibility by an organisation calling themselves the Sheikh Yusuf al-'Uyairi Companies of the Shaheed Abdullah Azzam Brigades.
The original Arabic statement was produced on 2 August, though the English version seems to be only two to three days old. Produced by the al-Fajr Media Centre - an official al-Qaeda media group which provides English translations of jihadist material - the message states:
A group of your mujahideen brothers in the Sheikh Yusuf al-'Uyairi; Companies of the Shaheed Abdullah Azzam Brigades executed a successful attack on an economic artery crucial to the kuffar's world order. The result came as they wished, and, more importantly, as Allah desired.
After midnight last Wednesday, the hero and martyr Ayub al-Tyshan- may Allah accept him among the Shuhada'- exploded himself on the Japanese oil tanker (M-Star) in the Strait of Hormuz between the United Arab Emirates and Oman and caused severe damage, as reported by global news agencies. Due to the great impact of this heroic mission on the global economy and price of oil, the enemies of Allah have concealed the truth of the operation. Some of them attributed it to an earthquake.
If the enemies of Allah had revealed that the earthquake the tanker had endured was actually the earthquake of a martyr; then the prices of oil would have been affected, and the whole world would have known the failure of all the security systems with which the kuffar protect themselves from the strikes of the mujahideen
Although the claim that there was a media blackout of the attack is untrue, it is worth noting that a day after the attack, a UAE official told Bloomberg that the ship was damaged in a collision. Indeed, it certainly makes sense that the UAE would try to cover up the fact that al-Qaeda are able to operate in their waters. This is also an example of the increasing sophistication in al-Qaeda's choice of targets: their eventual (and unattainable) aim is to overthrow the current world order, and one of the central cogs of this system is the oil market.
Near the end of the statement, the group claims that the attack was carried out "in the name of the imprisoned Sheikh Umar Abdul Rahman" whom they praise for igniting "the flame of jihad among the Ummah." Sheikh Rahman, also known as ‘The Blind Sheikh', is currently serving a life sentence in America for his role in the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, and this is the latest in a string of terrorist attacks carried out in his name over the last 17 years.
Focus on Islamism is a blog dedicated to analysing and exposing the modern ideological phenomenon known as Islamism.
Shiraz Maher is a writer and broadcaster.
Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens is a PhD student at King's College, London. He has contributed to various online and printed publications including, The Daily Telegraph, Lebanon's Daily Star, Standpoint and NOWLebanon.
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