ISIS tells jihadis to show no mercy and launch attacks during coronavirus crisis

Amid fears counter-terror efforts will be weakened by the outbreak. The West works to heal, the Muslim world, on the other hand…..

ISIS tells its followers to show no mercy and launch attacks during coronavirus crisis amid fears counter-terror efforts will be weakened by the outbreak

  • Islamist extremist groups say coronavirus is punishment for non-Muslims
  • The comments were made in a new editorial of the IS al-Naba newsletter
  • Crisis groups warn Covid-19 is threatening efforts to stop terrorism

By Alice Cachia For Mailonline, 2 April 2020:

An IS newsletter has urged followers to launch attacks amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A new editorial in the latest al-Naba newsletter has called for members to continue their globe-spanning terror, even as the virus spreads, and provides a list of directives to deal with epidemics.

The commentary added that coronavirus was a punishment for non-Muslims and that no mercy should be shown.

While the list included ‘stay away from sick people’, ‘wash your hands before eating’ and ‘avoid travel to affected areas’, it also included directive to ‘put your faith in God and seek refuge in him’.

The news comes as The International Crisis Group warned the coronavirus pandemic was threatening the global solidarity that is integral to fighting extremists.

A statement issued this week said: ‘It is almost certainly correct that Covid-19 will handicap domestic security efforts and international counter-ISIS cooperation, allowing the jihadists to better prepare spectacular terror attacks.’

Although it it too soon to say which attacks can be blamed on militants exploiting Covid-19, Islamist extremists carried out their deadliest assault yet in late March against the Chad military – a significant contributor to Africa’s growing counter terrorism efforts.

US army soldiers, part of the Combined Joint Take Force Operation Inherent Resolve, walk around the K1 Air base in northern Iraq before a planned pull US pullout earlier this week

Two military officials in Egypt recorded a spike in IS attacks in March in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula while security forces foiled another three major assaults.

The virus has spread to Syria and Iraq, with the coronavirus pandemic prompting the US-led coalition to halt training activities in Iraq amid a planned pullout from several bases.

There are signs elsewhere that other militaries, including the US and British, are pulling back because of the virus which could leave a possible opening for extremists to attack.

That is a danger in Africa’s hot spots of the Sahel, the Lake Chad region and Somalia, where the US military already worried allies in recent months by contemplating cuts to focus on threats from China and Russia.

Clionadh Raleigh, executive director of the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, which tracks extremists’ activities worldwide, said: ‘Any state that was interested in pulling back in Africa will take the opportunity to do so. That will be unbelievably bad.’

The British army mission in Kenya, which provides counterterrorism training and other skills, also announced this week that all army families will return to the UK because of the virus.