Islamic State leaders are urging followers in Europe to murder Christian clerics and worshipers in terror attacks.
The call is contained in a fatwa that was published online last week which claims the Koran permits the killing of “monks and priests”.
The document emerged days before the US State Department issued a travel alert warning that ISIS and al-Qaeda are planning attacks in Europe.
The ISIS fatwa specifically urges the targeting of Christian preachers and their congregations.
Religious judgements are often sought by militants ahead of attacks to confirm that they are justified by Islamic law.
It indicates that the terror group wants to repeat of the attack in August in which Father Jacques Hamel was stabbed to death by two terrorists in a church near Rouen in northern France.
The fatwa first appeared in a German-language magazine for ISIS supporters, produced by a propaganda wing called Al-Battar Media Foundation, with a graphic showing the Pope and Father Hamel splattered with blood.
An Arabic version is now being circulated on a key ISIS social media channel entitled: “Ruling on killing monks and priests”.
It consists of a collection of opinions from Islamic scholars and quotes from the Koran which it is claimed amounts to approval for the murder of Christian preachers.
It concludes: “Oh you, wherever you are struggling, the enemies of God, the unbelievers, kill them where ever they are, whether they are so-called civilians or military personnel.
“Take them and kill them, whether they are unbelieving members of the public or their preachers, monks and priests.
“Kill them and do not consult anyone about it…”
It also urges followers to emulate the Paris terror attacks, the Nice truck attacker, and the killers of Father Hamel.
The fatwa also includes quotes from a 2014 speech by ISIS’s late official spokesman and head of external operations, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, which called for the killing of civilians.
He said: “Do not ask for anyone’s advice and do not seek anyone’s verdict. Kill the infidel, whether he is civilian or military.”
The October issue of an ISIS official English-language magazine called Rumiyah included detailed advice on murdering people in knife attacks like the one seen in France.