Beheadings fuel IS terrorist recruiting campaign - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Beheadings fuel IS terrorist recruiting campaign

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Saudi King Abdullah denounced the beheadings of the American journalists. (Source: CNN) Saudi King Abdullah denounced the beheadings of the American journalists. (Source: CNN)
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(CNN) - The videotaped beheadings of two American journalists barely scratches the surface when it comes to the Islamic State (IS).

The terror group has released a parade of gruesome images online. One more shocking than the next.

And the militants are doing it because they think it will win, not lose, supporters.

A gruesome stunt choreographed and recorded by IS in the middle of the desert.

The beheadings of journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff posted online.

The reaction swift, even in Muslim countries.

Saudi Arabia's king saying, "these terrorists do not know the name of humanity," and in Lebanon, one leader calling these actions "heinous," saying they contradict the message of Islam.

In the United States, condemnation and a vow to destroy IS.

"We will not be intimidated, their acts only unite us as a country and stiffen our resolve to take the fight against these terrorists,” President Obama said.

World leaders talking tough, but is IS really listening? Or are they too busy uploading the horrific videos online hoping to inspire young men in the Arab world and the West.

"They're absolutely playing to their base here. Some of these men almost have a pornographic attraction to these violent scenes, these violent beheading videos. It really sort of energizes them. Makes them want to join this group. They feel like this is holy war. They feel complete absolute visceral hatred of the U.S. deep in their bones,” said Paul Cruickshank, a terrorism analyst.

It's those people who spend time in password protected online chart rooms and jihadi forums where they re-post the videos and share comments about the beheadings. Of the two main jihadi forums, AMEF, or "Ansar al-mujahideen" is where hardcore English speaking IS supporters tend to gather. Members take the videos posted there, then share them on Twitter and Facebook, recruiting an even wider audience.

On Twitter, the hashtag #a_message_to_america gained popularity following the beheadings.

Supporters of IS shared tweets like a picture of Obama next to a screen grab from the beheading video. Also shared were threats like this: "We are coming to slay you."

And this: "Remember that we are not invaders, it is you who invade countries and wreck [sic] havoc!"

Besides the tweets themselves, users even changed their profile pictures to screenshots of Steven Sotloff's beheading.

It may sound sickening, but terror experts say it only makes recruiting easier as IS spreads its message.

"It's in a very kind of interactive kind of way which is different from (Osama ) bin Laden and others a generation ago were able to put out. These grainy, kind of grandstanding video tapes. Now it's very interactive. You can interact with ISIS fighters in Syria in real time and that can serve as a sort of radical virtual echo chamber for these people,” Cruickshank said.

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