Global Terrorism Threat Analysis – April 2020

May 20

In the Americas, a truck driver reportedly stabbed three workers and wounded one customer at a highway truck stop in Knox County, Tennessee. The details of the attack fit with a number of criteria that indicate a lone-wolf Islamist militant attack, likely inspired by the Islamic State. The incident underscores the continuing threat of such incidents in the USA.

In Asia, Islamic State (IS) propaganda in India, while centered on Kashmir, indicated the group’s ambitions to broaden its spheres of influence in the broader South Asia region. Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, the stalemate between the Taliban and the country’s government continued, with the issue of prisoner releases dominating the current phase of tensions.

In Europe, Germany saw the arrest of four Tajik nationals in four cities in the North Rhine-Westphalia state for attempting to stage militant attacks on multiple locations, including a US military base. The incident reflects growing attempts to attack military facilities and the continuing levels of radicalization among Central Asians. In France, two separate cases of asylum seekers carrying out attacks were recorded, illustrating the continuing threat of self-radicalized individuals in France, particularly in poorer suburbs.  Russia saw an increase in the number of anti-militancy operations in April, likely in an attempt to project security successes amid the growing COVID-19 crisis.

In the Middle East & North Africa, the Islamic State’s (IS) latest two al-Naba weekly newsletters focused on discrediting reports by the government and by the Muslim Brotherhood, particularly regarding North Sinai. A two months delay in reporting on attacks conducted in Tunisia highlights the isolation of the IS contingent there and their difficulties in communicating with external elements. In Yemen, the new leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) released his first audio message depicting his outlook and strategies, which are consistent with his predecessor.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, IS claimed a series of notable attacks in Mozambique and militants released a video articulating their aim to establish an Islamic government for the first time. Al-Shabaab publicized its internal meetings likely to project stability after reports of conflicts within the group. IS’s West Africa Province released a new Hausa language magazine aimed at entrenchment within Lake Chad, while Boko Haram emphasized its large-scale attack that killed nearly a hundred Chadian soldiers. In the Sahel, Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam waal Muslimeen (JNIM) claimed at least 17 attacks in recent weeks in Mali potentially to leverage their statement that they would be willing to engage in talks with the government.