The militant group Islamic State (ISIS) has warned followers to avoid using popular internet-based communications apps like WhatsApp and Telegram amid fears they enable the coalition forces to pinpoint their positions.
Around 20 senior IS commanders have been killed in Iraq and Syria throughout 2016, including some of the group’s most senior leaders.
The decree came via an article in the militant group’s weekly online magazine, al-Naba. “If you get onto the programmes like WhatsApp and Telegram or others from Mosul, and get in touch with a person being tracked, the crusaders will start thinking about you,” it reads, “assessing your importance and identifying the locations of the (Islamic State) centres by following you.”
The article warns that any militant who uses a mobile phone is putting themselves and others at risk. “Switch off your phone after you finish your communication and beware of the greatest disobedience of all – switching it on when your are in one of the offices,” the piece continues. “As long as it has power, the phone is spying on you.”
ISIS has cut back on Twitter use in recent years and instead favoured a range of other messaging apps, of which WhatsApp and Telegram have been the most popular.