Fake Terror Attack Sends Shoppers Screaming

All to promote a film about the Islamic State
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted May 10, 2018 9:00 PM CDT

A new generation of YouTube stars are staging prank terror attacks in public and angering a few people along the way, the Guardian reports. On Tuesday men stormed a mall in Iran wearing black Islamic State garb and crying "Allahu Akbar"—causing some shoppers to scream in terror—all to promote a film about terrorists kidnapping a father and son. The director apologized but said he was only mimicking American teens who get millions of hits by posting terror pranks on YouTube. British YouTuber Arya Mosallah, 17, recently saw his channel pulled after he posted a video of him approaching people in London, chatting with them, and throwing water in their faces. But he denied any connection to acid attacks, the BBC reports.

"I've never once mentioned anything about acid in the video," says Mosallah. "I could have said 'acid attack prank,' but never once have I ever said anything like that." He apologized to acid attack survivor Resham Khan, who called his video "childish and pathetic," but then started a second YouTube channel promising more pranks; it was promptly removed. In 2016, Australian police arrested the so-called Jalal Brothers for staging fake terror attacks and posting them on YouTube—including one in which an AK-47 was aimed at a child, the Huffington Post reported. "It's probably the most sadistic form of comedy," behavioral expert Judi James tells the BBC. "A lot of it is schadenfreude—it's a bit like bullying at school, you're almost laughing tinged with a relief that 'it's not me.'" (More YouTube stories.)

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