Global Terrorism Threat Analysis – June 2020

June 20

In the Americas, an attack on a naval facility echoes a similar event from December 2019, indicating a possible copy-cat attack, thus demonstrating the effectiveness of Islamist propaganda in radicalizing and inciting militants based on previous attacks. Meanwhile, the arrest of a potential Islamic State (IS) inspired militant attack reiterates US security forces’ methods in tracking and foiling plots.

In Asia, IS reported its involvement in a low-intensity attack in South Kalimantan, Indonesia, indicating the entrenched position of its local affiliates and their ability to circumvent the security establishment’s crackdown. Meanwhile, the Hizbul Ahrar group’s claim for an attack outside Islamabad, Pakistan likely signals an expansion of its operations in the broader region amid a similar drive by IS’s local chapter.

In Europe, the deportation of alleged al-Qaeda and IS militants from Cyprus highlights the ongoing threat posed by such groups infiltrating the migrant influx in recent years, with the island recording as many as 3,000 arrivals by March before COVID-19 restrictions stemmed entrances.

In the Middle East and North Africa, France claimed to have killed the leader of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Abdelmalek Droukdel, which will adversely impact the group’s operations in Algeria and Tunisia and will present IS with an opportunity to resurge in these countries. In Libya, IS resumed attacks in the southern Fezzan region after a year of inactivity by capitalizing on the intensified conflict in the country. Still, the characteristics of their attacks indicate that the group’s operational capabilities are constrained.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, al-Qaeda claimed its first attack in Mozambique, marking its entry into the Cabo Delgado conflict and an increased potential for a deterioration of the situation there amid competition with IS. In DRC, IS’s Central Africa Province has increased its claims of attacks significantly over previous months. In the Lake Chad Basin region, IS’s West Africa Province notably claimed attacks in Cameroon after a long lull, signifying their intent to entrench in all of the Lake Chad countries. Finally, the killing of AQIM leader Droukdel in Mali is not likely to have an impact on al-Qaeda operations in the Sahel. Al-Qaeda released a map that shows Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam waal Muslimeen’s (JNIM) areas of influence in the Sahel, which was some what exaggerated but denotes the wide expanse of territory that al-Qaeda views to be under its control.