MS Risk Blog

Terror Attacks During Ramadan

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As in previous Ramadan periods, the so-called Islamic State (IS) group has again encouraged its followers to step up attacks during this holy period. This year, it has called for attacks to take place in Europe, Russia, Australia, the US, Iran, Iraq, Syria and the Philippines.

The 2016 Ramadan period saw waves of deadly attacks globally, including a nightclub attack in Orlando, US that killed 49 people, an IS suicide bombing on a Christian village in northeastern Lebanon, an attack on the Istanbul airport that killed forty people, violence at a café in Bangladesh, which left at least twenty dead, and a truck bomb explosion in Baghdad that killed almost 300 people. As Ramadan was ending last July, Saudi Arabia was targeted by four suicide attacks. This year has also seen a string of deadly attacks, including a suicide bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan and a pair of attacks in Baghdad, as well as an attack on the London Bridge in the UK.

While the African continent was not directly named by IS this year, it has not been spared violence during the Ramadan period. Attacks last year were mostly concentrated in northeastern Nigeria and were carried out by Boko Haram. Both the US and UK warned last year of terror attacks in South Africa during Ramadan, with Embassies in the country predicting plans by Islamist extremist groups to attack shopping centres and the US military. No attacks were reported. This year, extremists have launched several attacks, including in Maiduguri, Nigeria and in Mogadishu, Somalia. The US Embassy in Bamako, Mali warned its citizens in a message released on 9 June 2017 of a possible increased threat of attacks against Western diplomatic missions, places of worship, and other locations in Bamako that are frequented by Westerners. The statement did not specifically mention a heightened threat of attacks during the Ramadan period.

With IS issuing a call for attacks on 12 June, well into the Ramadan period, there may be an increase in global attacks, with extremists responding to the latest call to terror.