WASHINGTON – Both New York City and the nation's capital are on edge after the Islamic State circulated a photoshopped poster on social media showing a masked jihadist brandishing a rifle outside a burning National Cathedral.
Although the church is located in Washington, the poster's caption warns, "Wait for us: We meet at Christmas in New York... soon."
The news comes on the heels of two terrorist incidents that took place in New York City. The latest involved an ISIS-inspired extremist who set off a pipe bomb in a subway near Times Square.
A month before that, the city was struck by a pro-ISIS terrorist who killed eight people and wounded 12 others by driving over them while they were on a bike path near the World Trade Center in Manhattan.
Meanwhile, the Washington cathedral wasn't the only house of worship to receive threats from the jihadist army.
According to the Daily Mail, ISIS released a similar poster depicting a masked man at Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, with a warning that reads, "Berlin will burn."
Yet another propaganda poster features a jihadist inside a church striding toward a man dressed as Santa Claus. Its caption says, "Soon on your holidays. Soon, very soon."
The chilling images are the latest in a series of online threats over the past month targeting the U.S. and Europe.
"By calling for attacks against prominent places of worship, they're mainly trying to say something outrageous enough to generate a lot of public attention — which they then hope will inspire supporters to carry out holiday attacks wherever they happen to live," Chris Meserole, a Middle East expert with the Brookings Institution, told Newsweek.
"If a lone wolf attacks their local church rather than the National Cathedral, they'll still take that as a big win," Meserole said.