UN warns of ISIL, Al-Qaeda attacks after COVID restrictions

TEHRAN, Feb. 06 (MNA) – Al-Qaeda and Daesh extremists may stage "a rash of pre-planned attacks" after coronavirus pandemic-related restrictions are lifted, a UN report has claimed.

The document suggested that Daesh will try "to end its marginalization from the news" with a new wave of violence as the terrorist group calls on supporters to spend less time on social media, SPUTNIK reported.

"ISIS [Daesh] has enjoyed a captive audience, with so many people facing [COVID-19] restrictions on movement and spending more time online. Threats may have accumulated during this period that remains undetected but could manifest in due course", the survey warned.

Referring to sub-Saharan Africa, the report argued that the coronavirus pandemic "has weakened the hand of governments in conflict zones more than it has inhibited terrorist groups, and its long-term impact on economies, government resources, and allocations for international cooperation risks aggravating the [terrorist] threat further."

While stressing the ongoing resilience of militant groups, the document, however, points out a spate of significant setbacks that have disrupted their combat capability. The report recalled that al-Qaeda has lost a lot of key leaders, whereas Daesh is seeking to revive its clout in Iraq or Syria, which is unlikely to take place in the immediate future.

In July 2020, the Daily Mail cited Assistant Professor Michael Krona of Malmo University in Sweden as saying that social media had turned into a "happy hunting ground" for Daesh to groom the terrorist group's followers amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Krona added that historically, Daesh is known to use "its time and resources in the shadows of the media to recruit and build support under the radar".


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