Global Terrorism Threat Analysis – April 2019
In Asia, the Taliban announced its annual spring offensive in Afghanistan, while encouraging insider attacks during ongoing negotiations. Militant groups in Kashmir oriented their messaging towards delegitimizing the elections, amid growing inter-group competition. Finally, in Indonesia, pro-IS messaging referenced President Joko Widodo as a threat, indicating the potential for affiliates such as the JAD to turn towards political targets in the aftermath of the elections.
In Europe and the Americas, an IS-linked media outlet released a video calling for attacks in coalition countries highlighting the narrative of persecution in an attempt to aid recruitment. A different IS-linked media branch released a series of biographies of Europe born fighters noting the reasons why they took up jihad. IS & al-Qaeda mounted competing campaigns to avenge the Christchurch attack in Western countries. In France, unofficial IS channels circulated a video of an explosion in Paris claiming it was caused by IS, against official evidence. In addition, jihadist groups celebrated the burning of Notre Dame Cathedral underscoring the anti-Christian elements of their ideology. Finally, in the Netherlands, IS posters released immediately following Utrecht shooting on March 18 called for copy-cat attacks targeting transportation hubs.
In the Middle East and North Africa, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) released several statements that are meant to capitalize on the ongoing political instability to attract local support. In Tunisia, the Islamic State (IS) released for the first time photos of its fighters in Tunisia, as part of its effort to bolster the image of its global outreach following the lose of its “Caliphate”. In Yemen, physical and rhetorical hostilities between al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and IS intensified, most notably highlighted in a suicide bombing by the latter against the former’s headquarters.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, al-Shabaab conducted four suicide vehicle-borne IED (SVBIED) attacks in Mogadishu, representing a notable escalation in large scale attacks in the Somali capital. In Mozambique, militants have shown a significant improvement in their operational capabilities, increasing their attacks against military targets. In Lake Chad, the Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP) maintained its high pace of activity, including by conducting an attack with Grad rockets against Diffa’s airport in Niger. In the Sahel, the Islamic State (IS) increased its focus on the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) activities, with the inclusion of ISGS’ activities in The Islamic State’s al-Naba newsletter released on March 28.