Terrorists going after soft targets to get world‘s attention

Nov 23, 2015, 08:45 am

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A man holds a banner reading 'Terrorists are not Muslims' in a silent walk to support freedom and peace in Toulouse, France, on November 21./  Source from AFP, Yonhap News

By AsiaToday reporter Goh Jin-ah - More and more terrorists are striking soft targets to attract international attention.

The New York Times analyzed on Friday the competitive terrorism that recently took place, from the Mali hotel attack by Al Qaeda-linked group Al-Mourabitoun, to the Paris attacks that killed nearly 130 people last week to the downing of a Russian passenger plane last month.

Al-Mourabitoun said it is responsible for the hostage-taking assault on a luxury hotel in the capital of Bamako Friday, in a statement the group has posted online. The group said, "Brave knights had revenge on the West who mocked and ridiculed the Prophet (Mohammed)."

It means that the group symbolically attacked the hotel frequented by foreigners and Malian government officials that have set up close ties with the West, and that they tactically killed civilians to attract the attention of the international community.

The newspaper explained that there is particularly a sense of rivalry between Al Qaeda and the Islamic State - also known as ISIS or ISIL - in terms of strategies and tactics. The ISIS, which carries out terror attacks regardless of denominations, has emerged as the most dynamic, popular force among radicalized Muslims, fueling a competition for recruits, cash and bragging rights among extremists.

Some experts believe that Al Qaeda linked groups and other Islamic militant groups saw ISIS linked groups' terror as an urgent challenge to do something bigger. Former CIA deputy director Michael Morell said on CBS, "There is a possibility that al-Qaeda and other terror groups would carry out competitive terrorism to prevent themselves from being overshadowed by the ISIS."

The newspaper analyzed that both Al Qaeda and the Islamic State have disagreed over terror strategies and tactics, but they are learning a thing or two from each other.

The newspaper pointed out that the reason why ISIS carried out the terror attacks in Paris, which is far from their focusing region of Iraq and Syria, was because they were largely motivated by the terror attack on French newspaper Charlie Hebdo by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

#al Qaeda #ISIS #soft target #Al-Mourabitoun 
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