Al Qaeda Group Is Back on Twitter After Ban

Kicked off Twitter after murder threats, al Shabaab sets up new account.

ByABC News
February 4, 2013, 11:46 AM

Feb. 4, 2013 — -- Just two weeks after Twitter shut down its account, the Somali-based terror group al Shabaab has set up a new Twitter account and resumed tweeting out propaganda in English.

The al Qaeda affiliate's old English-language Twitter account was suspended in January after al Shabaab used the account to post a series of threats. It said it planned to kill a French intelligence officer and then announced he had been killed. It tweeted out photos of a French special forces commander who had been killed during an unsuccessful attempt to free the intelligence officer. Al Shabaab also used the account to threaten the lives of Kenyans it was holding hostage.

According to rules posted on the company's website, Twitter users "may not publish or post direct, specific threats of violence against others."

The first tweet from the new account, which was launched early Monday, was the traditional Muslim greeting "In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate." It was followed by a series of tweets taunting Twitter over the suspension of the group's original account.

"For what it's worth, shooting the messenger and suppressing the truth by silencing your opponents isn't quite the way to win the war of ideas," read one.

"In their quest to throttle the truth, the Kuffar forget that silencing@HSMPRESS only highlights the cause & justifies Mujahideen's actions," read another. "Freedom of Press is but a meaningless rhetoric. So long @HSMPress! You might be gone, but your legacy lives on."

The original English-language account, which launched in late 2011, had more than 20,000 followers, including many Western journalists. The new account says it belongs to the "Press Office, Al-Shabaab Al Mujahideen." Al Shabaab did not respond to an email inquiry by ABC News to confirm its link to the new account, though the BBC reports a member of the militant movement has confirmed its authenticity.

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