Controversy

Is al Qaeda publicizing a planned attack on New York?

Jihadi-linked websites post a menacing mock movie poster featuring Manhattan's skyline and a warning about al Qaeda's return

The story: A glossy graphic with 3D effects threatening New Yorkers showed up this week on terrorism-linked foreign websites. The NYPD and FBI are investigating the movie-like poster — which features the Manhattan skyline and the warning, "al Qaeda coming soon again in New York" — but as far as they know, "there is no specific or credible threat to New York at this time." (See the image at right and below.) Still, the image was first found on a website "where serious al Qaeda people communicate and exchange information about techniques, about explosive devices," NYPD intelligence analysis chief Mitchell D. Silber tells The New York Times.

The reaction: Though it seems unlikely, it's certainly possible that this "disturbing mock movie poster" is the work of a terrorist "threatening us anonymously on the internet," says Garth Johnston at Gothamist. Maybe, says Adrian Chen at Gawker, but there's a reason this slick "Photoshop of Doom" was in the "art and design" section of a jihadist web forum: Someone's just showing off his propaganda chops. Oddly, "it turns out 3D graphic design is super trendy in the world of Islamic militant message boards." Check out the new "terrorist aesthetics" below:

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