US urges vigilance after 'IS online threat' to military

Image of Islamic State fighters taken from a video released by the group - 17 March 2014Image source, AFP
Image caption,
The Pentagon said the threat was unverified and would be investigated

The US military has called for "vigilance" after an online threat was allegedly made by Islamic State (IS) to about 100 of its personnel.

A list of names and addresses was posted on a website linked to the group alongside a call for them to be killed.

The Pentagon said the threat was unverified and would be investigated.

The IS-linked group said it obtained the information by hacking servers and databases, but US officials said most of the data was in the public domain.

A US security source told the BBC that those on the list were being contacted.

The group, which called itself the Islamic State Hacking Division, said the personnel named had participated in US missions against IS.

It urged its supporters in the US to "take the final step" and "deal with" those named.

A US defence official told US media: "I can't confirm the validity of the information, but we are looking into it."

Image source, AP
Image caption,
A US-led coalition is training local forces in Iraq

US Marine Corps spokesman Lt Col John Caldwell said: "Vigilance and force protection considerations remain a priority for commanders and their personnel."

He recommended that marines "check their online/social footprint, ensuring privacy settings are adjusted to limit the amount of available personal information".

The US and its allies have been conducting air strikes against Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq since last September.

IS has seized large swathes of territory in both countries. Its brutal tactics, including mass killings and abductions of members of religious and ethnic minorities, have sparked outrage across the world.