Global Terrorism Threat Analysis – January 2019
From a Global perspective, pro-IS groups called for increased use of arson attacks and incidents using flammable devices, releasing publications explaining their advantages and disadvantages. This has the potential to join stabbing and vehicular attacks as a preferred method of carrying out lone-wolf attacks throughout the world, due to the relative ease of perpetrating and relative difficulty of detection.
In Asia, the Taliban insurgent group released an end-of-year report of its operations across Afghanistan. In India, a pro-Islamic State group criticized various aspects of the separatist movement in Jammu & Kashmir State in the latest edition of its al-Risalah magazine. Finally, the Pakistan-based Baloch Liberation Army’s presence in Afghanistan and operations outside of its traditional sphere of influence may indicate its potential ties with Islamist outfits like the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan.
In Europe, IS-linked online groups continued to call for attacks in Europe in a number of languages, including English, German, and Russian, indicating their ongoing goals of inspiring lone-wolf attacks on the continent. In the Netherlands, an uptick in militant arrests in 2018 indicates a heightened threat of attacks in 2019. In the UK, the Manchester stabbing attack on New Year’s Eve underscores the risks during the holiday season, as well as the position of transport hubs as a preferred target for militants.
In the Middle East and North Africa, Turkish security forces raided an Islamic State (IS) boarding school in Ankara, serving as further indication that IS is investing in building an alternative foothold and administrative hub in Turkey following their near-complete loss of territory in Syria and Iraq. In Morocco, two Scandinavian tourists were killed by IS sympathizers, highlighting the persistent underlying threat stemming from local supporters of Jihadist groups, particularly in countries such as Morocco that have a high-rates of Islamist extremist inclinations among the general public. Lastly, the IS-affiliate in Yemen, Wilayat Bayda, released a video titled “Save Yourself” as part of the effort to frame its cause as righteous, thus attracting more potential recruits.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, jihadist activity in northern Mozambique continues to climb as December saw the highest number of attacks in a single month since the insurgency began. In the Lake Chad basin region, the Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP) has continued its high pace of attacks particularly in Nigeria’s Borno State, with IS increasing its releases of photos and other propaganda related to the group. In West Africa, al-Qaeda coalition Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam waal Muslimeen (JNIM) released a collection of claims of responsibility for attacks that included incidents in Niger and Burkina Faso that demonstrate the extent of its geographical spread beyond its traditional bases in Mali.