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No end in sight: West fears more lone wolf attacks as IS hunts for new base

According to news reports, Islamic State chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi asked his cadre to return to their countries, as the Caliphate in Syria and Iraq was over, and wage jihad rather.

india Updated: Nov 01, 2017 23:39 IST
Shishir Gupta
Shishir Gupta
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Islamic state,Caliphate,Jihad
Investigators work around the wreckage of a Home Depot pickup truck a day after it was used in a terror attack in New York on November 1.(AFP Photo)

National security officials say that lone wolf terror attacks of the type Manhattan witnessed on Tuesday will be sporadically orchestrated in future by self-radicalised so-called Islamic State to keep the idea of the Caliphate alive, particularly after the fall of Raqqa on October 17.

An Uzbek origin American immigrant, Sayfullo Saipov, has been charged with mowing down eight people under a truck with another 11 sustaining injuries.

The next focus of the Islamic warriors could be Wilayat Khorasan (Khurasan Province) to try and re-establish the so-called Caliphate and fulfil Islamic prophecies, the officials added, although the US and Europe will remain the main target of such lone wolf attacks .

According to news reports , in his last address to his followers after the fall of Mosul, Islamic State chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi asked his cadre to return to their countries, as the Caliphate in Syria and Iraq was over, and wage jihad rather.

Iraqi intelligence reports suggest that more than 60,000 IS fighters were killed in Syria and Levant leaving another 20,000 alive and ready to wage war in the name of Caliphate.

According to Indian counterterrorism officials, even as the lone wolf attacks continue in the West, there will be efforts by these terrorists to seize territory in either Afghanistan or Central Asia in the name of Caliphate. IS fighters returning from Syria and Levant could take refuge in either South-East Asia or Africa by assimilating with groups like Boko Haram or Al-Shabaab in Africa or Abu Sayyaf in Philippines, they added.

Alarmed by the terror attacks in Manhattan and, earlier, in London, New Delhi is keen to account for each and every individual who fought alongside IS in Iraq and Syria and those who left for Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province to be part of the Wilayat Khorasan. Intelligence reports indicate that of the 66 Indians who fought in Syria and Iraq, 43 were from the diaspora.

There are 25 people, including 23 from Kerala, who joined the IS in Afghanistan. The total number of Indians killed fighting for IS is 7 to 8. Only two who fought alongside IS have returned.

According to counterterrorism experts, the only way to prevent terror attacks is by each country accounting for its fighters returning home, keeping a close watch on Islamic radicalisation through the internet, and random profiling of suspects to cut down self-radicalisation. Lone wolf attacks, they say, can only be prevented through neighbourhood intelligence.

First Published: Nov 01, 2017 23:38 IST