How Does It Feel To Be On An ISIS Hit List?

After every tragic extremist attack in a capital city, be it Paris, Brussels or Beirut, dark thoughts inevitably creep into our minds. A sudden jolt as the tube stops in a dark tunnel, unexpected turbulence on a plane, or the sight of armed police patrolling the streets can make you briefly wonder how it might feel if you, or someone you love, was caught up in the carnage of a militant attack. But what if supporters of a radical Islamist group knew your name, where you lived and your phone number, with the order already given to target you?

Thousands of New Yorkers are now coming to terms with this terrifying prospect after a hacker group affiliated to Islamic State (ISIS), calling themselves the United Cyber Caliphate, published a seemingly random list of some 3,500 New Yorkers, the majority Brooklynites, several weeks ago on the encrypted messaging app Telegram. The threat is serious enough that the FBI and the NYPD are visiting and notifying all of those on this hit list.

Newsweek secured access to the ISIS hit list, which the hacker group released alongside the message: “List of the most important citizens of New York and Brooklyn and some other cities. We Want Them Dead. Shut THEM Down.” The list includes many outdated phone numbers and addresses but Newsweek was able to confirm that many are indeed authentic. It remains unclear how the hacker group managed to obtain the database of New Yorkers and their personal information.

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