The following article is a selected excerpt from the latest weekly inSITE report on the Islamic State (IS) analyzing significant attacks carried out by the group during the month of Ramadan.
Periodic inSITE reports provide comprehensive macro–analyses of extremist groups based on official communiques, online chatter, media reports, and existing SITE research. If you would like to subscribe to inSITE on the Islamic State or other reports, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. To view this week’s report click here.
Ramadan in Review: IS Expanded Global Presence from June 6 to July 5
During the month of Ramadan, June 6 – July 5 of the Gregorian calendar, IS increased its deadly attacks across the globe. While IS faced multiple offensives in Iraq, Syria, and Libya, three noticeable international trends marked the two-year anniversary of the group's Caliphate:
First, IS broadened its geographic span by directing or indirectly inspiring attacks in 16 countries, including one country – Jordan - where IS had never claimed an attack previously. The countries were: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, France, Iraq, Jordan, Libya, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Somalia, Syria, Turkey, the United States, and Yemen. In a 17th country, Saudi Arabia, IS is the main suspect for the three attacks on July 4, although the group has not claimed responsibility. This compares to 11 countries from April 5 to May 4 and 13 countries from May 5-June 5.
Second, nearly all the countries IS claimed previous attacks in also experienced a dramatic surge in IS military activity.
Afghanistan: Nine attacks were reported during Ramadan, four in Nangarhar, three in Kabul, and two in Jalalabad. This compares to two in May, three in April, and three in March.
Bangladesh: Six attacks this month (16 this year total).
France: The June 13 stabbing of a police officer and his wife in Magnanville was the first IS-claimed attack in the country this year.
Jordan: IS claimed its first ever attack in Jordan against “the Rukban American-Jordanian [military] base,” which occurred on June 21.
Niger/Nigeria: IS’ West Africa Province (“Boko Haram”) has claimed seven attacks this year, four of which occurred during Ramadan. Nigeria saw two attacks in the Borno area (June 25 and July 2) and one attack in Yobe state. In Niger, IS targeted Nigerien military barracks in the Diffa region on June 17.
Somalia: Three of the five total attacks that IS has claimed in Somalia to date occurred during Ramadan: June 8, 23, and 27. The June 8 and June 27 attacks in Mogadishu both targeted Somali police, and the June 23 attack in the Hawa Abdi area in Lower Shebelle targeted African forces.
The Philippines: IS in the Philippines has significantly stepped up military and media activity, with a total of eight official IS-claimed attacks, five of which were claimed in the past two weeks.
Turkey: Two of the three IS-claimed attacks to date occurred during Ramadan: June 12 (assassination of a founder of the “Raqqa is being Slaughtered Silently” campaign in Urfa) and June 17 (killing U.S. officer in Adana). Also, IS remains the primary suspect for the attack on the Istanbul airport on June 28, but the group has not claimed responsibility.
**Saudi Arabia: Similar to the attack at the Atatürk Airport in Istanbul, IS has not claimed the three attacks in Saudi Arabia on July 4, although the group is the main suspect. The attacks targeted near the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, near the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah, and near a Shia mosque in Qatif.
**The United States: Omar Mateen, who pledged to IS, attacked a gay nightclub in Orlando on June 12. This was the first IS-inspired attack in the US since the San Bernardino attack in Dec. 2015.
Third, IS demonstrated a notable deviation/escalation of military tactics and targets in several countries:
Bangladesh: The June 1 Dhaka attack was the first time IS targeted a large number of victims; previous attacks targeted individuals.
Yemen: IS staged an unprecedented 8-man suicide attack on June 27 in Al-Mukalla.
Egypt: On June 30, IS expanded its near-daily attacks against Egyptian security personnel by targeting an Egyptian Coptic priest in Arish, a notable deviation from its regular targets in the Sinai.
The following map displays IS-claimed or inspired attacks throughout the world during Ramadan, excluding Iraq and Syria, accompanied by a chart providing a breakdown of the attacks.
The map can also be accessed here:
The following are countries that witnessed IS-claimed activity during Ramadan: