Supporters of the ISIS terror group tweeted thousands of messages on Friday bearing the hashtag #AmessagefromISIStoUS featuring gruesome photos and threats to U.S. soldiers and citizens after American airstrikes took out terrorist targets in Iraq for the first time.
Some tweeted photos depict dead U.S. Army soldiers, U.S. marines hung from bridges in Fallujah, decapitated men, human heads on spikes, and the twin towers in flames on September 11, 2001.
‘This is a message for every American citizen,’ read one message sent with the hashtag. ‘You are the target of every Muslim in the world wherever you are.’
‘US citizens will be a target for ISIS,’ another reads, ‘because of American airstrike[s] on Iraq.’
Another warned that ISIS is ‘ready to cut your heads Dear Americans O sons of bitches. Come quickly.’
That tweet also carried a second hashtag: #WarOnWhites. Others featured taunting captions to pictures of soldiers previously wounded or killed in Iraq, reminding Us commanders what happened last time there was a full scale invasion.
The tweets came on the day the U.S. unleashed its first airstrikes in northern Iraq against ISIS, amid a worsening humanitarian crisis.
Two airdrops of food and water supplies were also flown in to about 50,000 refugees who took shelter on a barren mountain after being ordered by ISIS to convert or face death.
The extremists have taken hundreds of women from a religious minority captive, according to an Iraqi official, and thousands of other civilians have in fear.
The latest Twitter blitz in an extension of ISIS’s propaganda push on social media that the terror group has used throughout their campaign to spread fear and intimidate the world.
Over the last few months the medium has been used to post graphic pictures of beheadings, mass killings and boastful messages from fighters who have come from Western countries.
The new messages highlight the possible consequences of President Barack Obama’s decision to authorize military airstrikes against the Islamist group, which are partially armed with munitions left behind when he pulled American troops out of Iraq at the end of 2011.
‘All it would take is one attack on a diplomatic facility to rally more online strutting,’ a State Department official told MailOnline on condition of anonymity, ‘and lots of people will blame the president for antagonizing people who already want to kill Americans.’
But it is yet to be seen how powerful ISIS is to carry out terror outrages beyond the territories under its control.
Obama ran for office in part on a platform of ending America’s armed conflicts in the Middle East; Friday morning’s airstrikes marked his first openly declared hostilities in the region – in this case, against a self-declared but unrecognized ‘Islamic state.’
The U.S. government will likely brush off the tweeted messages even though they could prove embarrassing to the Obama administration.
The official said: ‘No one in the U.S. with any social media savvy takes this kind of posturing seriously, but in some parts of the world it will have an effect.’
Indeed, a relative handful of Americans fired back online at the Islamist tweeters, mocking them for turning a life-or-death fight into a matter of bits and bytes.
‘All the bloody images, tough words and pics of knuckle draggers with bushy beards are not scary,’ one California man tweeted. ‘Just pitiful.’
After ISIS cheerleaders sent a tweet threatening to take over 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, another user likened the promise to a lockdown incident on Friday caused by a small child who wriggled through the White House’s outer perimeter fence.
‘Threatening to enter white house?’ he asked. ‘How? Like this toddler?’
The same man, pretending to be an ISIS radical, joked that ‘we will raise our hands when your unmanned drones come. Until then please bear with our threat tweets. Thank you.’
But ISIS’s taunting kept coming, hitting the 10,000-tweet mark by the time it was 5pm in Washington.
One, which included a poignant photo of a soldier saluting a cargo plane full of American flag-draped caskets, said Obama’s military action would mean ‘more and more American widows and orphans.’
Another, paired with a photo montage of dead and maimed U.S. military personnel, said only: ‘We miss you in iraq US Troops :)’
American airstrikes began Friday, and many of America’s allies backed the U.S. intervention, pledging urgent steps to assist the legions of refugees and displaced people.
Those in jeopardy included thousands of members of the Yazidi religious minority whose plight – trapped on a mountaintop by the militants – prompted the U.S. to airdrop crates of food and water to them.
The extremists’ ‘campaign of terror against the innocent, including the Yazidi and Christian minorities, and its grotesque and targeted acts of violence bear all the warning signs and hallmarks of genocide,’ U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said. ‘For anyone who needed a wake-up call, this is it.’