Global Terrorism Threat Analysis – October 2019
In Asia, clashes between the Islamic State Khorasan Province and the Taliban continued to intensify in Kunar, Afghanistan, with a possibility for expansion in hostilities over the near future. Meanwhile, in Bangladesh, IS’ claim for an attack in Khulna is highly notable, given that local groups have largely focussed on Dhaka in past plots. This may presage a future widening of their active operations to other divisions in order to retain relevance in the face of concerted security operations.
In Europe and the Americas, a mechanic in the US was arrested for attempting to sabotage a Miami flight. He was later found to have IS-propaganda on his phone. It remains unknown if the attempted sabotage was militant related or due to another grievance. Lone wolf attacks continued in Europe, being recorded in France, Germany, and Italy, with a number of unaffiliated individuals using low-sophistication methods to attack civilians. Further arrests were made in a number of port towns as militants continued to use migrant and human trafficking routes in an attempt to enter Europe. In Spain, an individual was arrested, believed to be involved with pro-IS propaganda, who had IEDs and was in the later stages of planning an attack.
In the Middle East and North Africa, the Islamic State (IS) has been capitalizing on the Turkish “Spring of Peace” operation in northern Syria to increase their scope and scale of operations. The security and administrative vacuum in the area, along with reports of IS personnel fleeing detention centers amid the operation, will enable IS to increase its local, regional and global influence in the coming months. Meanwhile, the IS-affiliated Wilayat Sinai released a 29-minute video focusing on prominent attacks in North Sinai and the group’s foreign operatives, highlighting its capabilities to absorb foreign fighters and their desire to attract more such recruits.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, al-Shabaab notably claimed to kill over one hundred US soldiers and a dozen Israelis as they continually frame their efforts in Somalia as part of the global campaign against the West. IS in Central Africa and Lake Chad released information on various incidents, particularly highlighting attacks against Christians to illustrate their own global ideology. In the Sahel, al-Qaeda’s Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam waal Muslimeen (JNIM) issued a rare apology for killing civilians as they continue to integrate in local communities. Both IS and JNIM had highly significant attacks in the Sahel as JNIM launched a double attack on Malian military bases that inflicted dozens of casualties, while IS claimed the deadliest attack in Burkina Faso since 2016, with both incidents underscoring the extent to which militancy has worsened in the Sahel over the past year.