Islamic State terrorist group on fast track to recovery as world grapples with corona pandemic
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- Islamic State ISIS is an Islamic extremist terrorist organization controlling territory in Iraq...[+]
Parallel to the spread of the coronavirus around the world, the Islamic state group is expanding its activities, primarily in the area connecting Iraq and Syria but also in its other “provinces” across the globe, the School of Political Sciences at the University of Haifa and the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University said in a recent study.
According to the study, waves of terror attacks between May and August of 2020 killed and wounded hundreds of people. In mid-May, over 200 attacks were carried out in various provinces. In late July and early August, more than 500 people were either killed or wounded in over 130 attacks.
In the first weeks of August, ISIS terrorists perpetrated more than 100 attacks across the globe, killing and wounding some 400 people.
The Islamic State’s scope of activity has increased from several dozen attacks in the first months of 2020 to more than 100 per month in April and May of 2020. At the same time, the Israeli researchers said, the attacks have also improved in lethality.
According to Dr. Galit Truman Zinman, the author of the report, the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic altered the trajectory of the Islamic State’s jihadist mission in two ways.
“First, it cut into Western countries’ investment in the fight against terror and reduced their military pressure on the group,” the report said.
The crisis also gave ISIS “a new spin on its message to potential recruits. In an effort to widen its ranks and renew the jihad, it portrayed the global pandemic as divine punishment upon sinful Western ‘infidels,’ ‘idolators,’ and ‘betrayers of Islam.'”
Through a variety of media outlets, ISIS is preaching that the coronavirus is merely a “soldier in the service of Allah” that was sent to help the group in its just struggle to “vanquish the infidels and spread Islam via the sword.”
According to Truman Zinman, ISIS has also been “busily” pursuing the drug trade, and in late June, 14 tons of amphetamines believed to have been produced by ISIS and valued at over $1 million were seized in Italy.
While ISIS may have lost its caliphate, the report says, “it remains an important jihadist terror organization.”
Stopping its renewed expansion in Iraq and Syria, meanwhile, “will require a deep and committed military involvement by the international coalition in cooperation with local security forces, though such an involvement does not appear likely in the near future,” the report concludes.
Source: Israel Hayom