Experts warned that al-Qaeda is looking forward to expanding in sub-Saharan Africa using new methods, including relying on youth. They also warned that ISIS and al-Qaeda may spread chaos in Syria and Iraq.
Chaos in Syria, Iraq
The Fatwa Monitoring Observatory of Egypt’s official Islamic body Dar al-Iftaa has warned that the remnants of terrorist groups ISIS and al-Qaeda may seek to spread chaos in Syria and Iraq, Egypt's MENA news agency reported.
In a report Tuesday, the observatory said these organizations seek to cause instability in Syria and Iraq despite the decline of the number of terrorist operations in the two countries.
It said that Afghanistan continues to top the list of countries witnessing terrorist operations whose aim is always to spread chaos and disturb social peace.
According to Egyptian reports, the observatory said that al-Qaeda is seeking to extend its influence in sub-Saharan Africa in accordance with a strategy based on new methods.
Al-Qaeda's new strategy
Al-Qaeda's strategy is based on four main principles, according to Dar al-Iftaa's observatory body, including forming alliances with other terrorist groups in the region.
The observatory body said that al-Qaeda seeks to ally with various groups in the region that adopt the same ideology and share common interests and objectives.
The terror group formed an alliance in March 2017, dubbed Jama'at Nusratul-Islam wal-Muslimin, with a number of groups, including al-Mourabitoun militant group, Ansar al-Din, Sahara Emirate, and Macina Liberation Front, the observatory said.
The second principle is using ethnicity. Al-Qaeda always remains on an ethnic backer that mainly leads terrorist elements to join the group, with the aim of compensating the losses suffered due to military operations carried out against it, the observatory said. This gives the organization's attacks an ethnic character, which is likely to leave a sign in the region even after ISIS is defeated and expelled, the observatory added.
The third principle relies on using new methods. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) attempts to respond to attacks against it in different and quick ways in order to protect its internal cohesion and the ability to expand in the region, the observatory said, adding that this leads al-Qaeda to resort to suicide operations, using women to blow themselves up in markets and gatherings to increase human and material losses.
The fourth principle is reliance on youth. AQIM relies on young people, most of whom are not known, have high combat skills and are desert dwellers, the observatory said.
Al-Qaeda's efforts come following the decline of ISIS's influence in the region following its defeat in Syria and Iraq, the observatory said, adding that al-Qaeda has made many changes at the organizational and operational levels.
The observatory revealed that statements issued by ISIS on carrying out terrorist attacks are false and aimed at misleading public opinion.
In its weekly report on Wednesday, the observatory said the number of terrorist attacks declined in the third week of December compared to the second one.
It pointed out that ISIS carried out 22 terrorist attacks in 10 countries in the third week of December that killed and wounded 227 people, while the second week witnessed 29 attacks in 14 countries leaving 282 people dead and wounded.
The observatory said most of the attacks were carried out in Iraq, Syria, Mali, Niger, Yemen, Burkina Faso and Mozambique.
It called for coordinating efforts and mechanisms to fight the terrorist group, especially with the New Year and Christmas celebrations.
Earlier in December, the observatory said that ISIS has committed 11 operations since it emerged where their cars ran over people, resulting in the death and injury of 892 people.
Such terror operations were carried out in Britain, Spain, France, the US, Germany and Canada, the observatory said.
ISIS has launched a new video dubbed "Prepare Yourself", which was produced in Spanish and translated to Arabic and English, urging its elements and hiding members to carry out terrorist acts during Christmas celebrations through explosions and running over people, the observatory said.
ISIS also urged its elements and supporters to hide among people and put on the same clothes with an explosive belt hidden under to kill who they call "disbelievers," the observatory added.
The observatory explained that ISIS called on its supporters during the eight minute video to target Christian gatherings during the celebrations of Christmas, by either explosive belts, running them over with cars, or stabbing them with knives.
The observatory warned of the seriousness of the terrorist operations that may occur, urging the security services to mobilize their forces during these celebrations to foil ISIS's potential attempts to carry out terror attacks.
On July 14, 2016, a Tunisian resident of France deliberately drove a cargo truck into a number of people celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, France, causing the death of 86 people and the injury of over 450 others before France's police managed to eliminate him after an exchange of fire. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.