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The dangerous and relentless presence of 'lone wolf' terrorism poses greater threat than traditionally organized terrorist groups

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Terrorists are now more commonly adopting terrorism ideologies and leaving behind group affiliations.

Al-Qaeda and ISIS may no longer be the biggest direct threat to Western civilizations. The "lone wolf" or "wolf-pack" attacks are proving to be more disastrous.

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By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (
1/14/2015 (6 years ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: terrorism, terrorist, lone wolf, wolf packs, Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Islamic State, ISIL, jihad

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Big terrorist groups are easier to detect than one or a few people acting on their own accord. The new trend in terrorism is steering away from big terrorist group direction.

Terrorists are taking ideologies rather than orders from the terrorist groups like, Al-Qaeda and ISIS.

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This new look on terrorism comes after a pre-recorded video of Amedy Coulibaly, one of the gunmen in Paris' terrorist attacks, declared his allegiance with Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Coulibaly then shared his plans and the alliance with Said and Cherif Kouachi.

The Kouachi brothers are known to have ties with Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), and announced they were sent by them, not ISIL.

As the Kouachis are suspected to have received weapon training with Al-Qaeda, and Coulibaly expressed his loyalty to ISIL, the likelihood of them being sent to work together by either big-name, powerhouse, terrorist group is low, because the two groups have been involved in a power struggle since they split in Syria in 2013, according to Al Jazeera America.

The answer to which group was behind the attacks may not be so clear. Clint Watts, a counter-terrorism expert and senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Washington D.C., said in a post for The War on the Rocks "the answer likely seems to be 'neither of them' and 'both.'" The trio appear to be "inspired by a combination of both groups, but whether they were fully directed in all of their cumulative actions appears unlikely."

A most dangerous evolution of terrorism is forming off the movement Al-Qaeda founded. The "hard-to-detect 'lone wolf' or 'wolf-pack' attacks that hinge more on the proliferation of an ideology than actual sponsorship by any group" are growing at a rapid pace, according to Al Jazeera America.

"This could spell trouble for Western governments, which designed their counterterror protocols in the wake of 9/11 to surveil international communication and disrupt organizational structures of foreign cells," explained the Soufan Group, an intelligence consultancy, in a new brief. "Thwarting the ideology that underpins a global movement will prove more difficult."

"The success of the Tsarnaev brothers [of the deadly bombings at the Boston Marathon in April 2013] and now the Kouachi brothers demonstrates that such a spectacular attack may not be needed to seem spectacular to the media," Watts said. "Both in Boston and now Paris, smaller scale, more conventional attacks informed by Inspire thinking have achieved at low cost what Al-Qaeda has failed to do in almost a decade."

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A broad-based jihad via a loose social movement," continued Watts. "Today's jihadi threat, blended between Al-Qaeda and ISIS [another common acronym for ISIL], networked by Facebook, and evolving based on conditions in hundreds of locations has the ability to produce attacks on three or more continents on any given day."

The accelerated rate of "lone wolf" or "wolf-pack" attacks will continue to pose a terrifying threat as gaining control over their actions is more difficult, if not impossible.


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