On June 3, 2013, Ansar Al-Islam, a jihadi group based in Iraq, announced it had launched an official Twitter account, @ansar_al_islam, in order to “expand its distribution scope through various certified platforms.” According to the announcement, which was posted on the leading jihadi forum Al-Fida’, the new account was named after Abdalla Khlaifani, a martyred commander, to “recognize his status.”
“All statements, productions, etc. which are published [in this account],” the announcement states, “will be official and issued by the group.”
Thus far, the account, which Tweeted for the first time on May 29, 2013, has been followed by more than 1,100 users. It is noteworthy that this is the second time Al-Fajr, the most trusted Al-Qaeda-linked media company, recognizes an official jihadi group Twitter account after @Andalus_Media, the official page of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). In addition to @Andalus_Media, Ansar Al-Islam follows six other Twitter accounts, one of which is of Jabhat Al-Nusra, the Syrian based Al-Qaeda-Affiliated group. Three of the other five accounts belong to pro-jihad Salafi clerics and scholars, while the remaining two are for leaders of jihadi groups in Syria – Abu Abd Al-Rahman Al-Suri, the spokesman of the Islamic Syrian Front (ISF), and Abu Abdalla Al-Hamawi, the group’s commander.